LAGOS, Nigeria – The State Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Alhaji Musilu Akinsanya known as Mc-Oluomo, has described the attack on security agents on Lagos Abeokuta Expressway by unidentified motorcycle operators on Wednesday as barbaric, uncalled for and an affront on security agents who are on legal duties in the state.
Akinsanya made the comments in a statement while reacting to attacks on Operative of Lagos Taskforce Officials and other security agents at Ikeja along on Lagos Abeokuta Expressway by Motorcycle Operators popularly called Okada riders.
It would be recalled that some taskforce officials were also attacked yesterday on Tuesday at the Rainbow Bus stop, along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway by the motorcycle operators on that axis.
Akinsanya said that the NURTW members across the state are law-abiding citizens who will never disobey the traffic rules and regulations of the state, saying the Okada riders under NURTW have been warned several times against riding bikes on restricted routes, highways, bridges and roads across the state and that the units chairmen are always on hand at various parks to ensure compliance with the law guiding their operations.
The NURTW boss said bike men who ply the highways, restricted routes and roads were not bonafide members of Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State (MOALS) but individuals who dabble into the business for their daily survival.
He advised the security agents to decisively deal with okada riders caught in the act of plying the restricted routes.
“It is an offence to pass restricted routes and the union stands by the government directives on operations of motorcycles in the state,” Akinsanya stated.
He added: “On several occasions, our taskforce would arrest those plying restricted routes and their bikes are usually seized from them. We have many seized bikes in our office at Agege.
“In most cases, some people would wear a T-shirt which indicates that they are members of paramilitary, and if you dare them, they begin to threaten our task force and we have warned our people against plying highways, restricted routes, bridges and roads. Our members are law-abiding, they are satisfied with the little amount they make in inner routes and roads.
“In our weekly meeting with chairmen of MOALS across Local Government Areas in the state, it has become a tradition since I assumed office to read out restricted routes to our members with a view to preventing them from plying those areas.”
Akinsanya insisted that those driving motorcycles on highways may be either private business persons or security agents who usually take advantage of the situation to carry passengers with their motorcycles as they go to the places of their works.
He said that members of Taskforce of Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State, last week, were also attacked by hoodlums riding okada on highways and routes in the course of enforcing restrictions on the highway and other restricted routes.
While reiterating the need to support Lagos State Government in preventing motorcycles from plying restricted routes, Akinsanya called for the synergy between NURTW, security agents and other relevant stakeholders in dealing with the erring okada riders who take laws into their hands and plying restricted routes in the state.
“I can assure you, we will continue to work with security agents and other relevant stakeholders in enforcing the restriction. We will support Lagos State in restoring sanity to our roads. Our task force has joined security agents to impound anyone that rides on restricted routes,” he said.
The NURTW Chairman, however, appealed to members of the public to stop patronising the okada riders who operate on highways, saying riding okada on highways is amounts to a risk of lives and property.