Jibola Komolafe resides in the Akowonjo area of Lagos State with his wife and children.

He works in a publishing company at Berger where he is supposed to resume at 8am daily.

In order to beat the horrendous traffic on the Lagos-Abeokuta highway caused by the ongoing BRT lane construction, Jibola takes Okada to work.

This has been the norm for him until he lost his life in an Okada accident along the same route after being lucky for 2 years.

On this fateful day, Jibola hopped on the okada as usual as he was running late. This was however after he had waved his wife and kids goodbye.

His wife and kids did not know that would be the last time they would see him as he died from injuries sustained in a ghastly accident.

Jibola's story is one of the numerous cases of lives lost daily on the roads because of the uncouth and impudent way commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders operate.

All Talk No Action

Confronted with the menace of okada riders within the metropolis, former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, in 2012, signed the Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012, which restricts okada operations on at least 492 of the 9,200 roads.

The objective was to reduce the menace of their operations.

According to Section 3 of the Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012, which says, ‘No person shall ride, drive or propel a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on any of the routes specified in Schedule 11 of this Law, restricts motorcycles and tricycles from 475 roads out of 9100 roads in the state including highway and bridges."

But as soon as the tenure of Babatunde Fashola expired, motorcycle and tricycle riders resumed unchallenged on major roads. 

The Forgotten Ooze Is Returning

Apart from the menace of okada and commercial tricycles, another ban which the Lagos State Government seems to have almost turned blind eye to is the dumping of refuse along major roads and drains.

The state government in September vowed to punish severely any resident apprehended dumping refuse on roads and drains across the state.

But the heap of refuses on major roads across the 'mega city' leave so much to be desired.


Renewed Clampdown

The impunity of these commercial motorcyclists continued for a while until 2016 when reports filtered in that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was considering enforcing a total ban.

This development may not be unconnected with the clash in the Ketu-Mile 12 area of the state, allegedly triggered by a dispute between an Okada operator and a passerby, which led to the loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira. 

The mayhem was preventable if there were no okada operators swarming every nook and cranny of the metropolis.

These fights occur daily on the roads. It doesn’t matter if a vehicle hits an impatient okada rider or okada hits a vehicle. 

In both cases, the vehicle is instantly adjudged the culprit, as swarms of okada riders will surround the driver to seek jungle justice.

What kind of mega city is built with anarchy on the roads?

There was however a renewed clampdown on commercial motorcyclists last week in some major areas.

The clampdown is a follow-up to the earlier threat by the state governor to enforce the total ban of the commercial motorcycles according to Paul Abubakar, Director of Operations, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation.


 

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Governor Ambode should build on what Fashola started by enforcing a total ban on Okada, restrict the operations of Keke Marwa and ensure refuses are tucked away in trash bins. 

Given the chaotic traffic situation in Lagos, the restriction of okada might affect commuters who are often forced to ride to save time but people will adjust. The ban should be confined to the metropolis.

Records show that Lagos alone had 2,555 accidents within five months of which okada accounts for 1,762 or 69 per cent. 

The National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi has created the Okada Ward dedicated to okada accident victims. That should give any serious government cause for concern.

Perhaps if the transportation system in the metropolis was far more effective, there would be no need for Okada, Keke Marwa and Jibola would still be alive.

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