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Men of the Nigeria Police Force and Okada riders are currently engaged in a face-off at Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos State.
The police are firing tear-gas and life bullets to disperse the commercial motorcycle operators, who are insisting on resuming operations on the road despite a ban on their activities by the Lagos State Government.
Todays protest follows a similar development on Monday when Okada and Keke operators clashed with policemen in Ijora and Yaba areas of the city.
Persons said to have been injured in the clash at Ijora according to eyewitness accounts .
The Lagos State Government says it will not reverse the ongoing enforcement of its Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018, which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada and tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP in 15 local councils across the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this on Tuesday while speaking at the official launch of commercial operations in water transportation by Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) at an event held at Badore Ferry Terminal in Ajah.
The governor said the state government would not give in to the “blackmail and uninformed criticism” of its decision to restrict tricycles and motorcycles on the highways, saying the enforcement became necessary in the face of growing threats to the security of lives of residents.
According to him, the scary figures of accidents resulting from Okada riders’ recklessness and the disobedience to traffic laws necessitated the enforcement of the laws.
Although the governor admitted that the decision was a tough one, he maintained that his government would not compromise on the issue of security and safety of residents.
“I agree it’s a tough decision we made regarding the restriction of Okada and Keke in some parts of Lagos. But I want to say some facts, which people can debate. The restriction that we have done is primarily based on security and safety of lives of residents. We took the decision based on the level of danger we have seen to have happened to our people,” he said.
“As a responsible government, we will not fold our arms and allow Okada riders put our lives in danger. One life is more important to us than all the economic benefits to be made if we allowed them to continue. We understand that investment too can be critical, but keeping people alive and safe is more germane.”
Speaking further, the governor sympathized with commuters affected by the Okada restriction and announced that the government would be deploying over 500 buses to the routes listed in the restriction directive as alternatives to ease movement.
He added that the launching of commercial operations on waterways by LAGFERRY was another programme introduced by the government to address congestion on the highways.