Following the signing into law, the bill on environment and traffic management recently by the Chairman of Ika South Local Government Area, Hon. (Barr.) Victor Okoh, some members of the public and okada riders within the Council Area are already apprehensive not knowing the modus operandi of the yet to be constituted traffic offences taskforce when they finally commence the enforcement of the law.
Based on the above, Ika Weekly reporter on Thursday May 17, 2018 went round the Metropolis to get the views of some okada riders on the issue. Here are the views of some of the respondents who spoke with the reporter.
Omordia Vincent, an Okada rider said he supported the idea of having a taskforce in Ika South LGA because of the menace of the one-way and the wrong parking on the road by some road users. He suggested that the Ika South Council Chairman should use educated persons as members of the taskforce, saying that the usual confrontation between members of the taskforce and the public in the case of Ika North East LGA is that most of the taskforce officials according to him are illiterates and touts. Continuing, he stated that cases abound where defaulters are apprehended and forced to part with some money, failure of which the officials will start beating the Okada rider. He noted that when educated personnel are engaged as taskforce officials, they will caution the defaulter, emphasizing that it will help checkmate criminals from hijacking the laudable objective of setting up the taskforce.
Mr. Nwabueze Nwankwor, an Okada rider, said they have actually seen the signpost and notices placed along the road by the authorities of Ika South LGA, noting that they have not really commenced work. Continuing, he disclosed that from what is happening in Ika North East LGA, they only disturb the okada riders and not vehicle owners. He frowned at the situation where the council authorities in Ika South have not provided them with where to park their motorcycles, hence he is of the opinion that before members of the task force fully commence work, they should properly sensitize the public; so that when a defaulter is apprehended, he will actually know that he has committed an offense and should know the penalty for the offense.
Innocent Chukwuyem, an Okada rider, in his contribution advised the Ika South Council Chairman to provide parks for the okada riders and employ learned and experienced people to work as taskforce officials in order to avoid quarrellings and fighting as witnessed in Ika North East LGA. He also urged the council authorities to occasionally without notice to come around and monitor the activities of the taskforce personnel so as to enhance performance according to instructions guiding their operations.
Nnabuogor Daniel, a motorcyclist said, “Although things have been moving smoothly before the taskforce were constituted.” He stated that unlike what some of the Okada riders are requesting that the council authority should provide them with park for their motorcycles, he is of the view that they should not be provided with parks, but the bike riders be allowed to park and carry passengers anywhere. Nothing that the ban on one way has been in existence for a long time, he however pleaded with members of the taskforce to be considerate on riders going for short distance in using the one way to drop their passengers, saying that they are not usually happy in most cases going to take a u-turn at a very long distance, when they have a short range to negotiate their entry. He assured that if they can be allowed with the request, there will never be any problem between both parties.
Nwador Joshua, a motorcyclist, said, “in order to forestall the situation where the okada riders and members of the taskforce fight and quarrel on daily basis, Ika South local government Chairman should put in place, Nigerian Police Force to work officially as members of the taskforce and not civilians because the okada riders will regard the police officers more than members of the taskforce. Secondly, I will suggest that the local government Chairman should build a motorcycle park where the okada riders can park their motorcycles at a particular time.
Evangelist Isaac, an okada rider, suggested that Ika South local government chairman and members of the taskforce should have a joint meeting with the executive of the okada riders and workout the modalities on how both parties can work together in achieve set goals without fighting themselves. Continuing, he stated that in the case of what is happening in Ika North East LGA, the taskforce members always disturb okada riders. In his words, “When we park our bike and stay waiting for passengers, they will just come and lock up and impound our bike and for us to retrieve it back, we will pay between five thousand to six thousand naira. The major problem is that the terms they are giving the okada riders are too much for us. For example, if the Council is saying that we should not park to pick passengers where then do they expect us to get our passengers from? Again, if they want to provide parks for the okada riders, let them provide it in a way that it will benefit everybody and not to put the park in a very far distance where it will be difficult for the okada riders to get passengers.”
He further disclosed that most okada riders within the Metropolis usually come from neighbouring towns, saying that he usually comes from Igbanke in Edo State to work in Agbor and passengers from the place already know that okada riders going to Igbanke usually stay at Baleke/Old Lagos-Asaba road junction, if they now ask them to leave the place, how will their passengers locate them. These according to him are some of the things that should be properly addressed.
Friday Fada Igwe, an okada rider said, “The idea of having a taskforce to oversee the activities of the road users is very good to enhance orderliness and free flow of traffic. However, our appeal is that they should allow the okada riders to park and pick passengers, drop and go.”