Our attention has been drawn to sponsored insinuations, most especially in the social media, stating that the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN has concluded plans to review the Road Traffic Law 2012, especially the aspect concerning the restriction of commercial motorcyclists from plying major highways and bridges in the Centre of Excellence.
This is far from the truth. This administration does not have the intention to reverse itself on this important issue now or in the immediate future. The reason is simple. By enacting the Law of 2012, we have made considerable gains in discharging the primary responsibility of government to our people in the area of protection of life and property.
We would like to further state for the records that the decision to regulate the use of commercial motorcycles on our highways was not a unilateral decision but a response to popular demands by members of the public who have been at the receiving end in their daily interactions with the okada operators.
Altogether, there are 9,100 roads in Lagos State. Motorcycles below 200cc are restricted on only 475 of these roads, which represents 5.6% of roads in Lagos. The result and impact of this decision have been tremendous. Prior to the enactment of the law, we were recording an average of 16 motorcycle-related deaths across the State every month and an average of 646 injured patients from motorcycle related serious accidents at states secondary and tertiary hospitals. As at March this year, our statistics show only 1 to 2 motorcycle-related deaths and less than 100 motorcycle accident related injuries in a month. No doubt, we have all the reasons to thump our chest that we have been responsive and responsible in the discharge of our duty to the people of Lagos.
We know where this misinformation is coming from, and the objective it is meant to achieve. We will say it for the umpteenth time, contrary to what they say, ours is the only government that has given recognition to the use of motorcycle as a means of commercial transportation through the instrument of the law and regulations meant to protect the riders and the generality of the citizenry. We are very much aware that in some jurisdictions controlled by the sponsors of this malicious propaganda, they have, through the instrumentality of raw power, banned outright the use of motorcycles.
The reason and motive of the sponsors of this unpopular agenda is obviously to set the stage for roguish conduct in the 2015 election. Their action is not altruistic but sinister. Their subtle and malicious campaign is to aid their sinister plots of fomenting trouble and snatching ballot boxes with the use of Okadas during the forthcoming General Election. Such evil plans will have no place in Lagos.
We wish to thank the general public for their concern over this issue, most especially the law-abiding Okada riders who appreciate that we are more concerned with their safety and well-being than those who are trying to incite them against the law. We will continue to strive alongside all our citizens to always ensure the safety of our people – Okada riders and other members of the general public, and we are confident of collectively building a safe, secured and prosperous society.
We encourage our Okada riders to go about their lawful duty by obeying all the provisions of the traffic law, especially those that restrict them from certain roads, those that compel them to always wear crash elements, not ride with more than one passenger, not carry a child below the age of 12, not carry a pregnant woman or a passenger who is also bearing a load on his head while riding, etc. All these are obviously for the safety of all. They should also not ride against the traffic (one way) or run red light for the overall safety of all road users. All incidents of wrongful arrest or oppression by law enforcement agencies should be promptly reported, individually or through Union Executives, to the Attorney General’s Office or Office of the Public Defender for prompt action. The duty of a responsible government is to protect life and property, and this we shall continue to do through the Road Traffic Law 2012.
SPECIAL ADVISER ON INFORMATION AND STRATEGY
AUGUST 24, 2014.