The Lagos State Government says the game is over for traffic offenders, especially with the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycle operators in the state.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, made the remark at a news conference in Ikeja on traffic rules violation.
Oladeinde expressed government’s displeasure at flagrant violation of the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, which restricts the operations of the commercial motorcycle riders, popularly known Okada riders, and driving against traffic.
He said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had demonstrated his commitment to making roads smooth, to promote better traffic flow.
The commissioner said that the governor had also invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses.
“In spite of all the efforts of Mr Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities.
“The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation.
“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges, apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous Okada riders.
“These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles,” he said.
According to him, the restriction of Okada on certain routes in the state is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the TSRL 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.
He said that any motorist caught driving against traffic would pay the maximum penalty, which is to have their vehicles impounded and forfeited in line with TSRL 2018, while the drivers would be equally charged to the court of law.
“In line with this administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and Okada operators, to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all times.
“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders.
“We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of Okada riders.
“We hereby direct all Law Enforcement Agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Task Force and the Nigeria Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes,” Oladeinde said.
The commissioner urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one-way driving.
“Obedience to the law is paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all,” he said.
The Special Adviser to Gov. Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them.
Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, a representative of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), assured the government of support and cooperation, and advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members.
Ojora, the Deputy Chairman of NURTW, who urged the law enforcement agencies to be transparent, alleged that parts of most impounded and crushed motorcycles were found being sold at Ladipo Market.
A representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Ayinde Runmonkun, said that most erring riders were unknown to the union.
He said that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders.
Runmonkun urged the government to carry the transport unions along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.
Recall that angry Okada riders in FESTAC and Ikeja areas, on Tuesday and Wednesday, attacked law enforcement agents and destroyed patrol vans. (NAN)