Over 200 Okada operators popularly called Okada riders on Wednesday attacked Lagos Taskforce personnel along Ikeja expressway for asking them to leave the highway and abide with the State Government traffic rules.
It was gathered that the personnel went to Ile Zik junction of the highway to appealed to the Okada riders to desist from plying the road including the dedicated lane for state-owned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses, which were listed among the over 400 outlawed for okada riders in the state.
Authoritative source revealed that the protest started on Wednesday morning when the law enforcement officials met with the riders and asked that they leave the road but the operators kicked against it and insisted that since they pay levies daily to councils, there was no reason for restricting them from plying all roads in the state.
It was learnt that the law enforcement officers, who were said to be less in number, while appealing to the operators to leave the road, sighted over 200 commercial motorcyclists armed with sticks and other items that could cause body injuries, moving to their location and retreated immediately to avoid fracas.
Realising that the agency personnels’ were already retreating, the operators allegedly chased the security operatives and vandalised public facilities that were within their reach during the protest.
Eyewitnesses said that the security personnel returned to their vehicles and left the scene after they were overpowered by the riders who were accompanied by hoodlums to ensure that the law enforcement officers do not carry out their duties.
Source revealed that the operatives left the scene to avoid a repeat of what transpired in Mile 2 and other parts of Amuwo-Odofin Local Government on Tuesday where an official sustained injuries and two trucks vandalised by the riders on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
The attack came barely 24 hours after the law enforcement agency personnel were attacked by commercial motorcyclist plying Apapa-Oshodi Expressway while trying to restore sanity with enforcement of road traffic law on Lagos roads after the EndSARS protest across the state.
A source narrated that minutes after the protesters had taken over the road, the taskforce officials reinforced and arrested over 26 riders to restore normalcy on the road.
Although the Lagos taskforce was yet to comment on the issue, another impeccable source disclosed that the visit to the axis was basically not to arrest but to ensure compliance with the state 2012 road traffic law.
The source, while arguing that the fight against Okada menace required efforts from residents, stated that since the EndSARS protest last month, motorists and motorcyclists have been having a free day with utmost disregard for traffic law including driving against traffic on major roads; an action that often created gridlock.
He lamented that motorists’ disregard for road traffic law had become a major negative impact on government effort to address gridlock on Lagos roads.
According to him, they have become a major threat to ongoing efforts to reduce travel time on Lagos roads and that was why about 169 vehicles were impounded for various traffic offenses.
“Out of all those arrested, 35 who drove one-way had their vehicles confiscates to the government after pleaded ‘Guilty’ by the Lagos State Mobile Court. 75 who were arrested for driving on BRT corridors had equally been convicted by the court with a fine of N70,000 to be paid to the government
“131 motorcycles have been so far impounded by the Agency for plying restricted routes since the end of EndSARS protest across the State”, he added.
Border Closure: N130bn Goods Trapped Outside The Country – Importers Laments.
This was revealed by the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Monday, saying that it has received the Government’s assurance to consider reopening the land border.
The National President of ANLCA, Iju Tony Nwabunike, in a statement, said: “It was observed as an issue of utmost concern that cargoes on transit and mobile assets like trucks laden with goods worth over N130bn belonging to private business people were trapped since August 18, 2019 when the borders were shut under a joint operation, codenamed “Exercise Swift Response”.
He said most of the goods with perishable timelines have either been destroyed due to expiry periods or damaged while exposed to unfavourable elements.
The association also said the land border reopening is to ensure that the Nigerian business community maximizes the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which would begin January 2021.
“The association therefore secured the assurances of the Federal Government on the need to effect gradual reopening of the closed borders with particular focus on rules of origin to prevent abuses of incentives like the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).
Taskforce Vehicles, Truck Damaged As Operatives, Okada Operators Clash In Lagos.
Our Correspondent gathered that the incident which began at about 9.00 am lasted about three hours, forcing other road users to avoid the route.
Taofiq in a release made available to journalists, said every motorists including Okada riders have been operating with impunity since the EndSARS since the EndSARS protest, thereby causing serious traffic gridlock across the State.
He added that the action of the operatives was also in response to series of complaints from members of the public about activities of the Okada riders using their bikes to rob them of their valuables.
The Agency spokesperson disclosed that there had been a stakeholders meeting with leaders of the commercial motorcycle operators, where they disowned all those flagrantly disobeying the laws.
The release reads, ” Yes, the operatives of the Agency based on series of complaints from the public about activities of these Okada riders using their bikes to rob them of their valuables and plying restricted routes as well went out to the area for Enforcement.
After impounding about 74 Okada caught plying one-way and those operating on highway, Okada riders mobilized themselves and attacked officers of the Agency.
They damaged beyond repair 2 of our vehicles with one of our truck.
A Paramilitary officer attached to the Agency (Ganiyu Mustspha) was wounded with broken bottles and Cutlass because he mistakenly ran into the mob.
Since the EndSARS protest every motorists including Okada riders operates with impunity thereby causing serious traffic gridlock across the State.
We had a stakeholders meeting with their Okada leaders and they made us to understand that all.those flagrantly disobeying the laws are not responsible to any associations in Lagos.
We must all join hands together to salvage the State from the hands of these notorious criminals who uses Okada to perpetuate evil to the public.”