Just a few years ago Lagosians heaved a sigh of relief when the administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) restricted the movement of commercial motorcyclists to inner streets and roads.
The number of deaths and broken limbs from Okada accidents was also drastically reduced and many Lagosians were quite happy with the development though some overzealous security men took advantage of the ban to arrest and ‘fine’ erring Okada riders before releasing their bikes to them.
Not anymore. Okada is back and going at full blast with operators riding through major roads, highways and almost every road at breakneck speed, dangerously overtaking, and without crash helmets.
In the last 18 months their number has undergone a dramatic rise and as before the Fashola restriction, they are now on almost every street corner that links a major road and even on the highway itself.
Nobody is calling for a total ban on the activities of the commercial motorcyclists but their activities as they affect the populace must be checked before they become even more dangerous.
Before the Fashola ban on major highways almost all households in the city had at least one person had suffered an Okada mishap.
Most private hospitals made brisk business, treating victims some of whose limbs were hacked off while some suffered permanent injuries.
We implore the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration to urgently find a solution to this looming threat as Okada riders are more dangerous than some species of animals.
The Lagos State House of Assembly too must rise and legislate on this menace. It is not enough to arrest individual motorcyclists as is being done by security operatives, who we suspect do this only when they are broke and need spending money. Our state lawmakers need to wake up to their responsibilities of making laws that would favour their constituencies instead of bickering over allowances and other mundane things.
Lagos State is moving and those responsible for governance here have to do their jobs we elected (or selected) them to do.
We have enough of crazy drivers of even government-controlled commuter vehicles to allow these mad men ride motorcycles at the risk of life and limb of hapless Lagos commuters.
The government must do something now instead of waiting for the situation to degenerate and further complicate the traffic situation in our dear Lagos. We all want a peaceful city.