The Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Alhaji Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya (MC-Oluomo), has warned commercial drivers against indiscriminate increase in transport fare over the ban of motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of Lagos State.
The NURTW boss gave the warning in a statement on Monday, saying the warning became imperative following the complaints from members of public, alleging commercial drivers of taking advantage of the ban to inflict more pains on the commuters.
Lagos State NURTW Chairman directed that no commercial driver should inflate their charges, warning that anyone caught in the act would be dealt with in line with the rules and regulations of the union.
He directed all the branch chairmen of the union to monitor and ensure that the commercial drivers do not extort people as a result of the ban of motorcycle and tricycle operations in some parts of the metropolis.
He stated that NURTW in Lagos State has been making a move to resolve the issue with state government and that the union is also working assiduously with investors to inject more buses and increase the number of commercial vehicles in the metropolis to ease the hardship faced as a result of the ban.
Oluomo used the occasion to caution commercial drivers against driving on one way or BRT corridors as anyone found culpable would face the wrath of the law.
“We advise both the commercial drivers and TOAN and MOALS to be patient and cooperate with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officials, obey traffic lights. It’s an offence to drive on BRT lanes or drive against traffic. Obey the traffic laws and regulations, comport yourself orderly and do not carry passengers at will.”
Meanwhile, with the full enforcement of the policy on Okada and tricycle operations in Lagos even beyond the restricted areas, commuters have started lamenting hardship as the policy has started having adverse effect on them, complaining that they undergo stress in getting to their destinations.
Many commuters have resorted to trekking and horse-riding due to scarcity of Okada and tricycles to convey them in some areas.
In separate chats with people at different locations in the state, the affected residents recounted how the ban has affected them especially on the Monday being the first working day to experience the effect of the policy.
Our correspondent, who moved round the metropolis to feel the pulse of the people on the latest policy reported that police were seizing Okadas and tricycles from riders on roads that were not listed or captured in the directory released by the state government.
Some of the respondents who spoke, said although the restriction order was given in the interest of the residents, a monitoring team should be put in place to curb the excesses of security agents while implementing the executive order.
A staff of Radio Nigeria Bond FM) located at Ikeja, Taoreed Abdullahi, who lives in Oshodi, said the police he could not get tricycle to convey him from Inside Oshodi to Ladipo bus stop as police arrested Okada and Maruwa in that axis despite the fact that they were operating within the community that is not among the restricted areas.
He added that tricycles and Okada could not operate anymore since Saturday within Mafoluku since the police have been arresting them and asking them to pay N30,000 to get their bikes and or Maruwa back.
“I think the government needs to monitor the police officers who take advantage of the policy to milk the innocent Okada and Maruwa riders. I don’t understand why they would be arresting Maruwa in the community that is not among the listed areas. I don’t take okada right from time, I take Maruwa but this morning there was no okada or Maruwa to convey me and there is no bus from my house to my office, I take Maruwa every day. This morning, I had to trek a long distance to get to the office I almost missed my programme in the office.”
A youth ambassador in Ajao Estate, Abdulahi Yusuf, who is known as PressyPoly said: “People are beginning to feel the hardship of commuting within the area. Banning on Okada and Maruwa from plying the bridge means people will have to get down at Iyana Isolo and trek to Mushin. Crossing the ever-busy express at their own risk or incurring the stress of trekking across the bridge. That’s uncalled for. Even Opay can’t ply the road. I have a great Objection to Maruwa’s ban, there has not been any case of accident with Maruwa lately and most people feel comfortable transiting in the tricycle. I hope the ban can be reviewed and possibly reversed excluding some areas and some bridges from the list.”
A Maruwa rider, Olanrewaju Adedeji complained: “I don’t know why Maruwa was banned. It will affect every commuter. At least on daily basis, I make not less than N8,000, and I carter for my family with this. Same applies to many of us. This ban means we won’t have work to do, the best the government can do is to get us alternative because we don’t know what else to do. There is no job out there. Amongst us there are graduate, craftsmen. I’ve been riding this for more than four years.”
A resident in Ikeja, Mr. Adeleke Adegboyega said: “The government should have looked for a regulatory measure which probably would have worked. They should design something whereby the security consciousness would have been there. There is no job outside for those riders to engage or get busy with.
An Opay Operator, Abraham Aminu protested the ban on Opay riders, saying: “The ban will go a long way to affect my operation in this vicinity. I live in Agege but I operate within Ikeja area I come here everyday. Aside from the company’s money, I make not less than N5,000 here on daily basis. The ban, in other area as well, will greatly affect our family. I hope it can be reviewed.’
Chairman, Motorcycle Operators Ascociation of Lagos (MOALS), Isolo Branch A, Comrade Lukmon Olaitan, stressed that the umbrella body of Okada riders would ensure strict compliance of its members to the ban on the listed areas but decried the manner at which police victimised Okada riders, noting even those who comply with the restrictions and regulations were victimized.
He said: “Though the policy is not favourable, since it is the government that made the law, we will ensure they (Okada Riders) comply. Though it will affect us in a long way but we will ensure strict compliance.
“Although, we are still pleading because I don’t think there is an alternative for those okada riders in banned local government areas to make ends meet. They’ve only blocked their viable means of livelihood. Again, the rate at which police impound Okada in the communities especially those plying inner streets is disheartening, most of them with no worthy reason, we hope something can be done to this.”
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