By Femi Oyeweso, Abeokuta
The Ogun State government on Monday, declared that it could follow in the footsteps of Lagos Tate by placing similar restrictions on the activities and operations of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called “okada” riders, should the leadership of the riders’ union fails to tame those it called “agents of darkness” from displaying their dexterity anywhere in the state.
The Chairman of the Committee on Transportation in the state, Olufemi Adeniyi, who spoke with journalists on Monday in Abeokuta, the state capital, said Ogun State was ready to embrace and allow the ‘okada’ riders sent packing by the Lagos State government to operate in Ogun State provided they will embrace a crime free atmosphere already in existence across the state.
With particular mention of the most concerned areas such as Alagbole, Akute, Ajuwon, Ojodu Berger, Mowe, Ibafo and Ogijo axis, Adeniyi explained that Ogun State will take advantage of the movement of these okada and “keke NAPEP” riders into the state to further grow the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
Explaining that his committee had been inundated with calls and reports of the influx of the displaced commercial motorcyclists into some neighbouring towns in the state, Adeniyi stressed that Ogun Staye was ready to accommodate them.
He said, “We have noticed the influx of these Okada, even to Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode, Ota, Sango and other areas. We plead with our people to be law-abiding and very accommodating. We are all going to that Promised Land, but we need to tread with caution concerning this influx of the okada riders. We know that it is going to be a means of revenue generation for the government, especially, the okada riders, because they would pay their dues to the government”.
Adeniyi however, cautioned that similar restriction could be placed by the state government on the commercial motorcyclists, if “they allow agents of darkness display their talents in Ogun.”
He said, “We need to let these okada riders, who are jist coming understand that it would be in very bad taste if they are resisted. For this would be not in consonant with freedom of movement as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This movement as has been restricted in Lagos State could also be restricted in Ogun State, if the agents of darkness amongst them display their talents in Ogun State. Ogun State, as we know, is the Gateway State to the nation and we have our own standards and we don’t want any okada riders to take laws into their owns hands or to use this opportunity to be committing crimes.
“We appeal to all of them to work harmoniously with those people they have met on ground and make sure that they work within the ambit of the law. And whosoever crosses his bounds will definitely face the full wrath of the law. We don’t want anybody not to say that we have not been warned.
“We are all obedient citizens, but there are some which we don’t know that we are going to tame to size. We have a peaceful Ogun State and we don’t want any influx of vagabonds and layabouts to take advantage of this influx of people down to Ogun State.”