Police Foils Protest Against New Lagos Traffic Law

The police in Lagos on Monday arrested four members of the Joint Action Front (JAF) and leaders of commercial motorcyclists popular called Okada during a rally organised to protest the new Lagos traffic law.

The rally was organised by the JAF to protest the new Lagos traffic law.

The protesters were arrested in Yaba area while distributing leaflets to residents.

Those arrested were taken to the Iponri Police Division where they were detained. Three of them were identified as Simeon Aremu, Yusuf Oladimeji and Malik Pappuchi.

The General Secretary of the JAF, Abiodun Aremu condemned the arrests describing it as unjust and an attempt to intimidate the people.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the NLC secretariat annex at Yaba, Mr Aremu said Nigerians will not be intimidated by arrests.

“We are here to tell the Lagos State government that enough is enough. Enough of the humiliation of poor people. The law banning okada is a bad law and the government should rescind it,” he stated.

He urged the people to come out and fight for their rights. “This is the beginning of the struggle to liberate the poor people in Nigeria and the struggle must continue until we win,” he said.

After his speech, the protesters marched round some streets in the area displaying placards with various messages.

“You gave us no job, we gave ourselves one and you are killing us for it.

“They say okada riders are robbers, who gave them guns?” “Fashola, give me my vote back,” the inscriptions read.

Lagos Assembly threatens total Okada ban

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday threatened to ban commercial motorcycle popularly known as Okada out rightly from the State.

Some Okada riders protesting the ban on them from plying 475 roads in the metropolis.

The Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji made the threat following a report on the destruction of government properties by the protesting Okada riders along Ikorodu road.

The House frowned at the attitude of Okada riders in the metropolis, calling on the state government to further strengthen security agencies to protect lives and property.

Mr Ikuforiji, while reacting to the incident said the House would not hesitate to ban Okada out rightly if the riders continue to destroy government property and constitute nuisance in the State.

Some Okada riders went on the rampage in various parts of Lagos State on Monday to protest the ban on them from plying 475 roads in the metropolis.

At Onipanu, on Ikorodu Road, the protesters vandalised about 10 BRT buses during the violent protest against the Lagos State Government.

Armed with sticks, iron roads and other dangerous weapons, the Okada riders hauled stones at BRT buses on Ikorodu road at Onipanu and Palmgrove bus stops.

There was pandemonium in the area and a team of policemen from the Rapid Response Squad, RRS was deployed to the area to quell the protest.
It was gathered that some arrests were made by the police but the number of arrests is yet to be confirmed.

Similarly, the riders also protested in Ikorodu and Ejigbo areas of the state this morning over the ban on them by government. In Ejigbo, the riders blocked the road, causing traffic jam in the area while they carried leaves and chanted anti-government songs. They rejected the ban placed on them from plying 475 roads in Lagos, saying it would cripple their businesses.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, confirmed the protest, saying the police moved in on time to quell the protest.

Total war on Okada

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has declared a total war on commercial motorcycle riders plying the 475 prohibited routes in the Lagos metropolis.

Speaking at a forum to enlighten military officials in Lagos, the State governor, Babatunde Fashola solicited the assistance of the army in the implementation of the new traffic law.

“The military gave us this democracy, so there must be a continuing partnership to keep it going,” Mr Fashola said.

The governor however insisted that such partnership would happen “only where the rule of law prevails.”

He said: “About the Okada, for me, I understand the economics of the okada. But it also has the social effects. Many fathers have lost their children; many husbands have lost their wives; many children have lost both parents.

“All we are saying is don’t go on the highways. First because we must even understand, Okadas and vehicles are automobiles; they are not toys; they are mechanical devices and therefore for you to even use them you must go and train. That’s why you go to driving school to go and learn; then they certify you.

“Somebody just pulls okada from any parts of the country he likes, gets onto a truck, he’s going to Lagos and then you entrust your life to that man? As if that was not bad enough, he drives against traffic?