LASG Flags Off Safety Campaign For Okada Operators
…as order on Okada takes off
Aug 10, 2010 - The Lagos State Government yesterday launched a 21-day campaign to enlighten commercial motorcycle (Okada) operators and other stakeholders on the need to ensure the observance of law and order in the Transport Sector.
The campaign, aimed at sanitizing commercial motorcycle operation in the State, will run till the end of this month and involves the use of mobile billboards, flyers, talk-shows and stakeholders' meetings at motor-parks in the major Nigerian Languages and pidgin-English, as well as radio and television jingles and advertorials.
As the enforcement of the rules and regulations commences on September 1, 2010, Okada operators are enjoined not to operate in the State without a valid Rider's License, proper registration and a standard crash helmet and being road worthy.
Also, the messages will discourage Okada riders from carrying more than one passenger at a time, pregnant women or women carrying children on their backs, school age or underage children, or any child less than 18 years of age operating Okada in the State.
Riding against traffic, on kerbs, median or road set-backs and violation of traffic light signals are other prohibitions apart from road signage where Okada operation are prohibited.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, told Government House Correspondents that the Law and Order campaign has to do with the regulation of the activities of Okada riders in the State.
Bamidele, who spoke in company of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, declared, "As a Government that has developed a zero tolerance to every form of disobedience of our law and order, we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the campaign covers every aspect of our lives as a State since public transportation is a major aspect and with Okada operation as an integral part of public transportation".
According to the Commissioner, "As we have already stated, both in Law and in theory, motorcycles or Okada, as they are called, are not meant to be part of the public transportation of Lagos State. So, essentially, those who operate them and those who ride them as passengers, are actually not covered under the law and, sadly enough, it has become a major reality in our hands that we cannot pretend that they are not in existence; so we are trying to make the best out of an otherwise bad situation; because in an ideal situation we should not be having people transported on Okada at this age".
The Commissioner noted that the State Government had consistently strived towards modernizing public transportation in the State, adding, "You know of BRT, you know of LAGBUS, you know about other transport systems and, of course, you know about the steps being taken by the Government to ensure that the rail system works and also in trying to ensure that the water transportation system is in the State".
The Commissioner declared, "As we confront issues of public transportation both in respect to transportation by air, rail, water and by road, we have to manage the activities of Okada riders to see how best to protect lives and property in the process", adding that Government has decided to be proactive in ensuring that both the Okada riders and the general public are familiar with its thinking and its philosophy in that regard.
Bamidele disclosed that the road show would take law enforcement officials round major parts of the city of Lagos by mobile billboards vehicles operated by WOW Mobile Billboard Company led by Mr. Tokunbo Odebunmi adding that the essence is for the members of the public to appreciate the resolve of Government to enlist the support of members of the public to join the campaign to save lives by ensuring compliance.
In his own remarks, the Special Adviser on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, reiterated that the campaign was essentially to enlighten the general public on the need to save lives by ensuring compliance with traffic rules and regulations as they apply to Okada riders in the State.
Opeifa said the Government was in agreement with the leadership of the Okada Riders' Association on the enlightenment drive for their members in this regard.
Appealing to members of the media to assist in the campaign, the Special Adviser said that, in carrying out the campaign, Government was not making any new laws but concern about minimizing unavoidable deaths on the roads.
Also present at the occasion were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. J.O. Coker, Chairman of the State chapter of the Association of Okada Riders of Nigeria, Comrade Ade Ikuesan, the Secretary, Comrade Elvis Mordi, officials of LATSMA and other top Government functionaries.