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WHY THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT BAN ON OKADA IS IN OUR COLLECTIVE INTEREST

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OKADA

WHY THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT BAN ON OKADA IS IN OUR COLLECTIVE INTEREST

OKADA

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When the Lagos state government announced a total ban on the activities of commercial motorcycles (okada) operations as a means of public transportation in six local government councils and nine local councils development areas to take effect from the 1st of June 2022, Lagosians received the good news though long overdue with mixed feelings bordering on concerns about the enforcement of the Lagos state transport sector reform law (2018) for the umpteenth time.

 

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The announcement of this ban by the state government came at a time the citizenry apprehension about okada threat to public safety and security of life and property occasioned by the security challenges in the country had reached the crescendo. The ban was widely applauded and commended across all segments of the society as a necessary response of a listening government to the concerns and aspirations of its people for whom it exists to serve.

 

 

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Recall that in 2006, the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the restriction of okadas operations in the state between 7pm and 6am due to the security threat of a spike in armed robbery operations. In 2012, the administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) enacted the Lagos state traffic law (2012) to regulate the activities of commercial motorcyclists (okada) as a means of public transportation because of its menace to the security of life and property of Lagosians. The law prohibited the activities of okada on major highways, bridges and designated roads.

 

The enforcement of the Lagos state traffic law (2012) under former Governor Fashola was largely successful and brought huge relief to the citizenry who were groaning under the tyranny of the okada riders on the roads, though opposition to the law persisted from expected quarters, who claimed that the crime rate will spike as those who would have lost their means of livelihood by this restriction, will have no option but to take to crime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But contrarily, available statistics obtained from relevant agencies after the enforcement of the law, revealed that crime rate dropped drastically, same for okada related accidents and fatalities as well as sanity being restored to the roads which had become chaotic due to the recklessness and lawlessness of the okada riders who had no regards for traffic laws, as they rode against traffic and knocked down pedestrians at will, injuring, maiming or killing them, flouted the law by carrying more than the officially allowed 1 passenger, disregarded the wearing of safety helmets for themselves and the passenger, mounted sound systems with loud speakers on okada and sadly, a lot of the okadas were not registered and the riders unqualified to ride which contributed in no small measure to the high rates of accidents on the road.

 

Actually, the Lord be your Savior, if as a motorist you are involved in an accident with an okada operator, whether you are innocent or guilty, they will pounce on you and you will be lucky if you are not molested, beaten, injured and your vehicle not burnt by an army of okadas riders who have turned into a mob. Infact their terrorism on the roads as a threat to law and order at all times is unparalleled as they attack, injure and even kill law enforcement agencies operatives in the course of their official function, statistics and data abound to corroborate this assertion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The state government organized several stakeholders engagement to review the Lagos state traffic law (2012) and at one of the summit, several persons and groups came up with presentations commending the state government for the bold step of enacting the law which had succeeded in reducing avoidable accidents and deaths on the roads, reduced crime rate enabled by okada, restored sanity to the traffic situation and even forced young men back to the farms from environments far from Lagos as attested to by participants, for example, an elder statesman from one of the North Central zone states, stated that before the enactment and enforcement of the law, youths from his part of the country (Kogi) were trooping into Lagos like droves on a daily basis to make quick money by riding okada between Ikorodu and Mile 12, and abandoning acquiring education, vocational skills and working on the farms. He narrated sadly, how before the enforcement of the law, that at least on a daily basis, 3 or 4 corpses of the okada riding youths were returned to the villages to be buried, but that since the enforcement of the law in the past 9 months then, they had yet to record a death and are happy that the youths are returning back to the villages to continue with life devoid of the hazards that come with riding okada to earn quick money that comes with injuries, partial or permanent disability or even death as a result of okada crashes.

 

However since the enactment of the Lagos state traffic law in 2012 till date, a lot of water has passed under the bridge to the extent that the law was reviewed and amended to become the Lagos State transport sector reform law (2018). While the law remained in force, the enforcement in 2020 had to contend with several obstacles which included covid-19 outbreak, EndSARS protest of 2020 among others. In the midst of all these developments, states from across the six geopolitical zones like Enugu, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Edo, Zamfara, Kaduna, Cross River, Borno among several others continued to ban the operations of okada as a means of public transportation because of safety and security concerns. Infact, in July 2022, the Federal government after a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, came out with a hint on the possibility of a nationwide ban of okada so as to cut off the sources of funds of terrorists and bandits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thus, in deference to the loud calls from Lagosians for a total ban of okada in the state in view of security concerns and an examination of the phased ban in six local government councils and nine local council development areas, the Lagos state government convoked a stakeholders summit to review the ban in the aforementioned LG’s/LCDA’s and chart the way forward.

 

At the summit which held on Tuesday August 16th 2022 and was well attended by stakeholders from the academia, youths, community leaders, traditional and religious leaders, artisans, civil society organizations, persons living with disability, security and traffic management agencies personnel, the media among several others, the resolution at the end of the summit was a unanimous call for a total ban on okada as a means of public transportation in the state after presentations from stakeholders which was intellectually driven.

 

 

 

 

 

Major highlights of the summit were presentations by experts which revealed an 86% reduction in crime rate and a 63.7% decline in okada related accidents and reduction in the admission and treatment of okada related accidents patients at public health institutions since the ban took off on June 1 2022 compared to the statistics for May 2022 and before. The threat to public safety and security of life and property, the lack of documentation, identification, nationality and place of abode of the okada riders were highlighted as a major cause of societal concern because of the nature of the business. Also, the large army of our youths who no longer want to acquire education or vocational skills to carry out artisan jobs but have taken to the quick money of riding okada, has necessitated the influx of foreigners from Benin Republic, Togo, etc for our masons, bricklayers, tillers, plumbers, etc needs, is a threat to our security and future. The threat of food security is real as our youths have abandoned the farms for the quick money of okada business which has resulted in untimely deaths and physical disability as a result of okada crashes and so should be a source of concern for any society that has an eye on the future.

 

Again, we are not unconscious of the arguments from the opposition to the law by those who assume and claim that a total ban on okada will deprive the operators of their means of livelihood and spike the crime rate, but unfortunately for this school of thought, modern societies are run on the basis of information and evidence gathering and not assumptions and claims not backed by verifiable evidence. The statistics and facts gathered from the field by experts, researchers and statutory agencies, point in the opposite direction even in 2022 as it did in 2012 and so their arguments in the face of available data, statistics and fact does not hold water and should be discountenanced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most importantly, the threat to our humanity posed by okada induced increasing crime rate, crashes and jungle justice mentality of attacking, injuring and even killing their passengers over dispute in fares as attested to by the death of a sound engineer in the Lekki axis of Lagos in May 2022, unleashing mayhem on the roads whenever one of them is involved in an accident, disregard for public and personal safety by not wearing helmets, nor provide for their passenger, knocking down pedestrians at will by riding against traffic in utter disobedience to traffic rules and regulation, attacks and killing of security operatives such as the death of CSP Kazeem Abonde the operations officer of the Nigeria police force Lagos state command who was killed at Ajao estate of Lagos state for the crime of performing his statutory function of enforcing the law in September 2021, etc. The environmental hazard caused by the noise and air pollution of okada is a threat to our human existence. We can go on and on about the tyranny and threat to our existence by okada as a cancer which must be addressed frontally.

 

Based on the above analysis of the pros and cons of okada ban, it is indisputably clear that the announcement by the Lagos state government on Thursday 18th August 2022 of the extension of the ban on okada in four local government councils and five local council development areas to take effect from September 1 2022, is a responsible response to the democratic wishes of Lagosians by a government that places premium on its primary responsibility of securing the life and property of its citizens and its obvious to all and sundry that this ban though in phases, is in our collective interest for our tomorrow which is a collective responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God bless Lagos State,

 

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

Thanks.

 

Yours Sincerely,

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Governor Bulldozes Parliament And No One Bothers? By Felix Oboagwina

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Governor Bulldozes Parliament And No One Bothers?

By

Felix Oboagwina

I care little for former Rivers State’s Governor Nyesom Wike and the 25 pro-Wike lawmakers in the State House of Assembly. However, in their current quarrel with the incumbent Governor Simi Fubara (the godson who succeeded Wike), only one factor works against Wike in the court of public opinion: In the 2023 elections, the Rivers strongman worked for the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President; and Tinubu has today raised Nigerians’ pain and poverty to record proportions! President Tinubu’s failures solely win for Fubara massive support in this lingering faceoff with Wike, his erstwhile godfather, predecessor and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

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Governor Bulldozes Parliament And No One Bothers?

By
Felix Oboagwina

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This colourless former Rivers State Accountant-General emerged as the Dark Horse and clinched the Rivers governorship completely by the grace of Wike. How? In the penchant of political godfathers to prepare for themselves a soft post-office landing, by planting spineless acolytes as successors, Wike manipulated Fubara over far popular and formidable aspirants, and handed him PDP’s Rivers State governorship ticket. Wike financed all the campaigns, swayed the rostrum with his oratory and persona, brought in the votes and handed Fubara the election on a platter of gold. But talk of Karma. Not only has Fubara turned around to bite the fingers that moulded him, he has injured Democracy in the most unimaginable fashion.

Fubara Speaks On Tinubu's Intervention In Rivers Crises

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As the Yoruba say, the new king devours the kingmaker first. Fubara turned against Wike and rubbished him. Not done, Fubara, late 2023, stormed the Rivers State House of Assembly (having majority 25-7 as Wike PDP loyalists), with police firing gunshots and water cannons to keep the rampaging Governor at bay!

His supporters thereafter set ablaze the Parliament building.

Fubara then sent the demolition squad to bulldoze the entire complex to smithereens.

Every single one of these anti-legislative steps amounted to a desecration of Democracy and an assault on a sacred institution of popular government. It amounts to treason!

This much President Tinubu told Fubara to his face when the First Citizen brokered peace between these gladiators. The Parliament, everywhere, exists as the truest representation of the people and the incontrovertible custodian of Democracy. Whereas the Executive and the Judiciary exist in other forms of government (autocracy, military, monarchical), the Legislature’s participation distinguishes Democracy from all of them. Thus, demolishing its habitation connotes the highest threat to Democracy. The Congress is an institution; and we have always mouthed the need to build strong institutions as opposed to strong politicians.

Fubara went further. Most recently, he AGAIN stormed the makeshift accommodation that the Rivers Parliament resorted to at the Assembly Quarters. Then, on May 10, “Emperor” Fubara enacted an Executive Order to force the House of Assembly to hold its sittings inside the Government House! Sacrilege! Whatever happened to the Doctrine of the Separation of Powers?

Imagine the contradiction. An Executive Order passed on the Legislature! The Executive ORDERS the Legislature! How can? Nowhere does the Constitution place the control of the Legislature (and the Judiciary) under the Executive.

These assaults the Rivers State Legislature has endured.

Pray, who advises this guy?

The Legislature is made so potently powerful that the Constitution allows it to overrule the Governor and railroad a Bill into law without his consent.

Section 96(5) says:

Where the Governor withholds assent and the bill is again passed by the House of Assembly by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required.

Even the budget of the Legislature, like that of the Judiciary, goes by first-line charge, all in order to ensure its independence and the Separation of Powers.

How can a Governor with the vast resources at his disposal prove incapable of lobbying, courting and winning over the State House of Assembly, and instead His Excellency resorts to thuggish, strong-arm tactics? You wonder what terror this character wouldn’t unleash if backed by a Rivers State Police Force completely at his beck and call!

Fubara-Wike’s wahala factionalised the House of Assembly 25 to seven and the Accountant-General-turned Governor chose to work with the minority, in clear violation of Section 96 that says:

(1) The quorum of a House of Assembly shall be one-third of all the members of the House.

(2) If objection is taken by any member of a House of Assembly present that there are present in that House (besides the person presiding) fewer than one-third of all the members of that House and that it is not competent for the House to transact business, and after such interval as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House, the person presiding ascertains that the number of members present is still less than one-third of all the members of the House, he shall adjourn the House.

The majority of Rivers legislators, for political expediency and most likely to take cover under the Federal might, crossed carpet to the ruling APC.

Commissioners are resigning from Fubara’s cabinet, citing the toxic atmosphere working with him.

The 23 local government chairmen have drawn a battle line with him.

All these could be predictable because most of those officials owe their emergence in office and pledge loyalty to Wike. They all jumped ship after Fubara, egged on by whomever, flung reconciliation with Wike against the rocks.

Contrary to President Tinubu’s peace agreement that Fubara and Wike’s group signed December 2023 at Aso Rock, the Governor refused to re-present the 2024 budget to the State House of Assembly, continuing to work with an illegal Appropriation Act passed by a mere seven out of 32 lawmakers. This he did even when, in the spirit of that agreement, the majority Wike group of legislators withdrew their lawsuits against him and aborted impeachment proceedings on the understanding that the budget would be properly presented for passage.

Bottom line? The crisis in Rivers goes beyond a Fubara-Wike brouhaha. It queries the very essence of Nigeria’s Democracy and the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution. Everyone taking sides does so with the mentality of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those beating the drum for Fubara’s dance of madness are pushing Nigerian Democracy to ride the back of a tiger. How do you end the ride without Democracy ending up as a meal down the tiger’s throat? If Fubara’s style of burning, demolishing and choking the Legislature becomes a culture, then what fate befalls this Democracy? If the President takes a cue and chooses to tackle the National Assembly in a similar style? What species of Legislature will the Upper and Lower Chambers turn to, being Executive-ordered to perform legislative duties right inside the Aso Rock Villa, under the nose of the President?

The problem that lovers of Democracy must tackle is stopping Fubara becoming a role model for how the Executive can emasculate and stifle the Legislature’s independence at the state and Federal levels. Or are we going to let Fubara get away with this abuse of the Parliament because of the disdain we nurse for his adversaries, Wike and Tinubu?

OBOAGWINA IS AN AUTHOR, JOURNALIST AND PUBLISHER, REACHABLE VIA: foboagwina@gmail.com

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How Pro. Kingsley Accurately Predicted Death Of Iranian President Raisi

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How prophet Kingsley Aitafo Accurately Prophesied Sisi Quadri death

How Pro. Kingsley Accurately Predicted Death Of Iranian President Raisi

 

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The prophetic grace upon Prophet Kingsley Aitafo is unquestionable as one of his international prophecies has come to pass again.

 

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Months back, he gave a prophetic warming about the untimely death of Iranian president, Raisi. He also warned that his seat will be taken over by his vice president.

Interestingly, his prediction came to pass as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed when his helicopter crashed in poor weather in mountains near the Azerbaijan border, officials and state media said on Monday.

 

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The charred wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on Sunday carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six other passengers and crew was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

 

Supreme Leader Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, said First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, would take over as interim president, the official IRNA news agency reported.

 

 

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” Khamenei said in a statement. Mokhber, like Raisi, is seen as close to Khamenei.

 

How Pro. Kingsley Accurately Predicted Death Of Iranian President Raisi

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Prophet I O Samuel Prophecy on “A” And “N” fulfilled

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Prophet I O Samuel Prophecy on “A” And “N” fulfilled

….. Challenged Christians across the Globe to Pray against unexpected plane Crash

 

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The world woke up to the news of the death of the Iranian president, who died in an helicopter craah in his country. Prophet I.O Samuel of Shiloh Word Chapel in Abuja.

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In a service attended by a lot of congregants on Sunday 12th, November, 2023. He asked his congregation to pray against plane crash from then till 2024.

In the now viral video seen by our reporter he said “ The angels destroyed one plane crash, the other plane can not land. Please pray for country that start with A and end with N and also country that starts with N and ends with A. Projection on air crash has been destroyed before, let’s pray more till 2024”

These are his prophetic words which came like a parable as it finally came to pass as people never suspected that such tragic occurrence would take place. The respected president of IRAN died in an helicopter crash.

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It will be recalled also in America a country that starts with A and would involve a Nigerian National.

On Saturday February 10th, was a black day all over the world as the CEO of Access Holdings died in a helicopter crash in America, involving a Nigerian a country that starts with N and ends with A.

Prophet I.O Samuel, is renowned for his fervent prayers of mercy and intercession for Nigeria and also for the citizens.

But like the word of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible that says “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house”

The tragic occurrence would have been averted if people had heeded the warnings and call to pray by the man of God.

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