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Okada Ban: Violence erupts in Lagos

ON Wednesday, the Iyana -Ipaja axis of Lagos state has been declared a danger zone to commuters, as chaos and violence erupted over the ban of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles in some parts of the state.

In a viral clip on Twitter with the inscription, “SARS killed a student”, a schoolgirl was seen lying on the ground as passers-by gathered to rescue her from the scene of the incident. 

The ICIR had contacted the state Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Bala Elkana to confirm the developing events, but he did not respond to several calls.

This is the third major reported clash between security personnel and commuters since the ban took effect on February 1, 2020.

On Monday, three were feared dead during a protest by motorists and several transport associations in Ijora Olopa, Lagos over the ban.

Protesters had set fire on tyres in the area blocking motorist access to the roads which resulted in a dispute between the police and demonstrators.

According to a live report on Wednesday by the LagosTrafficReport and other Twitter users, a policeman is feared dead.

The clash between the police, task force and commuters in Iyana-Ipaja axis of the state witnessed the burning of security vans, motorcycles, gunshot battle, harassment of commuters and pedestrians etcetera.

In a video clip, a pedestrian lamented how he was harassed by policemen after he had sought help to leave the scene of the clash.

“I innocently called one of the policemen at Iyana Ipaja and told him to help me pass so that they won’t shoot me and say it’s accidental discharge, the next thing I knew, he hit my mouth with his gun, dragged me from my belt tore my buttons on my shirt, and threw me inside van,” the individual lamented.

While the clash continued,  Governor Sanwo-Olu was reportedly inspecting newly trained Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) staff.

The ban which started on Saturday, February 1, affected 15 local government areas (LGAs) and major roads, bridges in the state.

Affected people like the OPAY, Gokada, Maxng, and other commercial motorcycle taxi operators had pleaded to the government to adopt other measures to regulate their operations rather than restrict them, arguing that commercial motorcycle operation was their only means of survival.

The Lagos state government, on the other hand, has argued that Okada is being used by criminals to escape after committing robbery and other evil act.

The government, however, has promised to ease the frustration of commuters by introducing hundreds of buses for road transport and ferries for waterways.

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