The Lagos State government may soon place a total ban on commercial motorcycle operation (okada) in the state, owing to the roles operators of such means of transportation play in the perpetration of crimes.
This was part the recommendations of participants at a Stakeholders’ Meeting on Security, organized by the state government on Monday May 10, 2021.
It was observed that okada riders featured in 218 serious crimes committed in the state between January and April this year.
The one-day retreat was attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other dignitaries, including the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Chief Judge, members of the State Executive Council, members of the Body of Permanent Secretaries, Commissioner of Police and all Service Chiefs, local government chairmen, royal fathers, spiritual fathers, labour union leaders, and representatives of civil society organisations.
The retreat featured intensive deliberations on presentations by the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu; and Professor Babajide Alo of the University of Lagos, on Security Challenges in Lagos State and General Security Challenges (Citizens Perspective) respectively.
Discussants noted that the menace of commercial motorcycle operators has become alarming, especially after the #EndSars Crisis in October, 2020, thereby constituting security threats to citizens in the state.
They particularly noted that okada riders perpetrate crimes, disregard traffic and highway regulations, traumatize motorists, aid and abet criminal activities such as carjacking, conveying arms, kidnapping, cultism and espionage activities on security agencies.
They also noted that that shanties, uncompleted and abandoned buildings, and undeveloped plots of land have become homes to hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers and other criminals, while abandoned vehicles are also used to store arms and ammunition.
Therefore, there were recommendations that the Lagos State government should take over abandoned/uncompleted buildings in the state immediately; take control of abandoned vehicles and seal-off/take over houses, hotels and events centres where hoodlums are found to hibernate or where arms are stored.
It was recommended that the state should give ultimatum to owners of undeveloped plots of land to build within a specified period, failing which such lands shall be forfeited to government.
The meeting frowned on the incessant attacks on law enforcement officers, and asked that culprits be arrested and prosecuted.
Participants also agreed on the need to deploy appropriate cutting edge technologies (streetlights, CCTV, drones) to fight crime and strengthen security in an emerging Smart City such as Lagos.
It also called on traditional rulers to be more involved in intelligence gathering and security of their domains across the state.