Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday launches a total of 500 First Mile and Last Mile 7 to 13-seater buses and also 100 high capacity buses, to address the transportation hiccup in the state and also as part of efforts to phase out completely operation of motorcycles popularly called okada in Lagos to guarantee security and lives of the citizens.
Stakeholders in the state, a few days ago, met at a parley, which took place at the Adeyemi Bero Hall and mandated the state government to place a total ban on the use of commercial motorcycles, as they raised concerns about high-level insecurity, among others in the state due to activities of okada riders.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, while performing the launching at Lagos House, Ikeja, noted that an efficient transportation system was needed to drive a thriving economy, saying that the First and Last Mile (FLM) buses initiative was conceived to connect one community to another where big buses would not be able to reach.
“What we are doing is about guaranteeing the security of lives and properties of our people.
“A responsible government would have to respond to the high level of accidents and threat to the security of lives of the people through activities by criminals,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, while maintaining that the efforts were in response to call by the stakeholders on the issues of security and the need to have an efficient, seamless, effective transportation system, however, noted that the state government would observe for two months to see how okadas operators would comply with a law restricting them from certain routes and crime rate before it could now go for a total ban on okada.
“Further to the launch of these buses, I am using this medium to restate our earlier pronouncement on the operations of commercial motorcycles (Okadas) and tricycles (Keke Napeps) in Lagos State.
“To reiterate, all Okadas and Keke Napeps are restricted from operating in the following Six (6) Local Government Areas: Surulere; Lagos Mainland; Lagos Island; Ikeja; Eti Osa and Apapa; Nine (9) Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs): Apapa-Iganmu; Coker-Aguda; Itire Ikate; Yaba; Ojodu; Onigbongbo; Lagos Island East; Iru-Victoria Island; IkoyiObalende; and Eleven (11) major highways in the State: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Apapa-Oshodi Expressway; Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway; Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway; Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway; Third Mainland Bridge; EtiOsa/Lekki-Epe Expressway; Lagos-Badagry Expressway; Funsho Williams Avenue; Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa Lekki Coastal Road.
“There will be zero tolerance for defaulting Okada riders who insist on riding their Okadas within the restricted areas. We will be charging our law enforcement agencies to strictly enforce this restriction, as we will be going in heavy on recalcitrant offenders who persist in flouting the restrictions.
“We will continue to monitor and assess the situation over the next one-two months and tweaking our response appropriately to ensure that ultimately, we are winning the war against crime and criminality associated with Okadas. If we do not see any improvement, we will have no choice but to go for a full and complete ban on Okada activities in the state,” the governor said.
Speaking further, the governor disclosed that his government was embarking on building transport interchanges to connect road, rail and water together, adding: “We just added six (6) ferries to the existing ones on the ground.”
According to him, “15 jetties are under construction and between five (5) and six (6) jetties would be complete by the end of the year.
“Both Red Line and Blue Line would be completed by the third quarter of 2023, all these we are hoping would be done seamlessly.”
The governor, while charging law enforcement officers to be alive to their duties, warned that driving against traffic in the state remained an offense, saying that a regular offender faces a jail term of three years, while a first-time offender risks a jail term of one year.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, while also launching a fleet of 100 high capacity assembled in the state as part of efforts to ease and ensure pleasurable commuter experiences in the state, said each of the buses had a capacity to move 960 passengers daily.
The additional number has now increased the fleet of the Lagos Bus Services Limited to 352.
The governor assured that the state government would intensify efforts to push its Integrated Transport System further to ensure Lagosians can move comfortably from one point of the state to another seamlessly with different options available, urging all stakeholders in the transport sector to support the state government.
Managing Director of the Lagos State Bus Services Limited, Idowu Oguntona, thanked the governor for his unwavering commitment to improving the Transportation system, promising the Agency’s support in providing a modern, safe and secure bus Transport system for seamless movement of Lagos residents and job opportunities.