Stakeholders manning traffic in the nation’s capital have urged the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, to ban motorcycles known as ‘Okada’ on the Airport route.
Also, Okada riders have constituted security threat and environmental nunsance near the airport, which serves as the initial point of contact for foreign visitors to Nigeria.
They spoke out about the Okada riders’ activities during a stakeholders meeting called by the new Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Dr Abdulateef Bello, in his Abuja office.
CSP Uhegbu Ugochukwu, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Lugbe Police Station, revealed that Okada riders, in most cases, Okada riders drive against the traffic and thereby causing accident on the highway which result to traffic gridlock.
He opined that the Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello should put a ban on Okada and crime rate will be reduced drastically.
Ugochukwu also called on the administration to have a traffic central control unit which should be headed by the SSA Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah, saying, this will help to arrest and prosecute traffic violators.
Saying, the human traffic along Airport road is very high and most people shun the use of pedestrian bridge and cross the express at the expense of their lives. We have so many instances of hit and run
He added that the team will start prosecution of people who fails to use the pedestrian bridge.
Similarly, the Chief Road Traffic Officer/ Area Commander, Lugbe, Ojo Lawrence said that, they have been able to arrest over 200 vehicles for various offenses.
Narrating some of the challenges they have on the road , he said most vehicles pick and drop passengers and those selling station their wares on the roads.
He, however, urged the administration to look into the issue of Okada riders as they constitute nuisances , saying, they are very volatile, when one is arrested others come in their large numbers to free the offenders as they often overpower the Personnel due to their large numbers and the weapons they have on.
More so, the Lugbe Supervisor of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) , Bawa Mukhtar butttresed some of the crimes committed by Okada riders, saying, any attack on the roads are done by Okada riders.
Meanwhile, the Unit Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Lugbe, ACC Ohaeri Osondu said they have deployed strategy to reduce traffic gridlock on the airport road by posting personnel to man the road both morning and evening during pick periods.
He added that through this means they have able to make arrest of so many traffic offenders and this has helped in no small measure to reduce traffic gridlock along Lugbe axis.
However, the Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Dr Abdulateef Bello who after the meeting went round to see things for himself have Okada riders two weeks to comply to the restrictions order.
His words, ” Haven’t engaged with the leadership of the Okada group , we just hope that they will comply with the instructions of the restrictions that they should not ply the highway.
“We will give them two weeks while we continue to carry out the exercise of enforcement and monitoring and then removal .
Of those we see on the highway, after two weeks if they don’t comply , then we will start thinking of how to push the decision to ban”.
Speaking on riding out reckity vehicles from FCT roads, Bello said, “FCT is a pride of Nigeria, as a country and we want to make sure that we creat a very good impression, so anything that will have negative value to our esthetics nature of the city should be taken away, that’s the reason why we have to address , this also include heavy smoking cars; as long as it curses environmental hazards, is not fit to be on our roads”.
On sustainability, he said , we will be crushing all impounded motor cycles , we have crushed over two thousand motorcycles already, and we will continue to crush them 5o serve as a detriment”, he added
Meanwhile, Comrade Ikharo Attah, SSA to FCT Minister on Monitoring Inspection and Enforcement said there are traffic issues and environmental nunsancies from every entry points into communities along Airport road.
His words, “We have intensive trading, and other activities that push people to the road .
“Now that we are having a stronger team and the former Director of Security becoming the new Director of DRTs on the field we are going to get more reinforcement.
“We are going to be doing enumosly here , tongues may likely wag because we are going to be doing a comprehensive work tht would last for a long time and people will be asking ‘una never tire’. Sustainability is key , we are going to be coming to get the place clean’ , he said .