Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday read the riot act to commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders, commercial buses and street hawkers, saying that the state government will no longer tolerate their nefarious activities on the streets and highways which he said, have caused untold hardship for the people of the state in recent times.
He also issued a 90-day ultimatum to tank farm owners to build loading bays for their tank farms to decongest the roads or face the full wrath of the law.
Speaking on the traffic situation in Apapa axis of the state, Ambode traced the gridlock to the presence of tank farms and daily activities of petrol tankers in the area.
He expressed concern that more tank farms are in the process of being approved, revealing that Lagos alone accounts for 80 percent of the cargo that comes into the country through the ports while about 90 percent of the fuel used across Nigeria is loaded in the state.
Gov. Ambode expressed anger that three months after meeting with tank farm and petrol tanker owners, they have been unable to come up with a solution to the gridlock caused by the tankers queuing up on roads and bridges to load petroleum products.
This situation, he said, would no longer be tolerated by the state government after the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to him: “State of affairs that has accentuated traffic gridlock in Apapa area and its environs is no longer tolerable to the State Government saying that necessary arrangements have been made with the relevant Regulatory Institutions to sanction defaulting port users – importers, tank farm owners, terminal operators and shipping companies.
“All Tank Farms are hereby given a 90-day grace period to build loading bays for their tank farms. Any Tank Farm that fails to provide a Loading Bay after this grace period, would be shut down by the State government”.
Addressing reporters shortly after an emergency Security Council meeting which he chaired, Governor Ambode said that it had become evident that traffic crimes and robbery are mostly as a result of the menace of Okada riders and street hawkers, “while recalcitrant commercial buses have become lawless and reckless on the road”.
He said the council made far reaching decisions at the meeting in line with the commitment of his administration to ensure security of lives and property as well as enforcing the rule of law.
Ambode maintained that his administration will not allow a few notorious elements to cause a breakdown in law and order and upset the peace that the state has enjoyed over the years, adding that he has directed the full enforcement of the Lagos State Road Traffic Laws, especially as it concerns the restriction of okada and tricycle operations.
He reminded Lagosians that Schedule II of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012 restricts Okada, tricycle (Keke Marwa), carts and wheel barrows on some routes including Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Third Mainland Bridge.
Other routes include Eti-Osa/Lekki –Epe Expressway, Lagos –Badagry Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa/Lekki coastal road.
The governor therefore said, “Any person who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction as stipulated in the law.
“Henceforth, all commercial vehicles, except Bus Rapid Transport buses, must use only the service lanes in accordance with existing traffic laws. All conductors of commercial buses must sit down in their buses and keep the doors closed at all times while in motion. It is against the law for conductors to hang on the bus doors and leave the doors open. Any contravention will be met with severe punitive measures.
“Commercial buses can only drop and pick passengers at officially designated bus stops henceforth. Any illegal and indiscriminate picking and dropping of passengers is against the law.Other road users who break traffic laws will pay a compulsory traffic fine in accordance with the law. Mobile traffic courts are being introduced to prosecute offenders promptly”.
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