FCTA blames Abuja’s Okada menace on outdated laws

FCTA blames Abuja’s Okada menace on outdated laws
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has continued to face threats from commercial motorcycle riders, popularly known as "Okada riders," which has been blamed on the absence of strong legislation that take current events into account.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) re-established its relationship with the Police and many other security agencies at the same time as the partial ban and current route limitations in some parts of the nation's capital were still in place.

The leaders of the security services and paramilitary organisations gathered on Tuesday to plan a course of action, especially those in charge of the areas where Okada's partial ban is still in force.

The Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Dr Abdulateef Bello, said while enforcement against the insecurity and recklessness of the operators of Commercial motorcyclists have remained a priority, getting strong legislative backing has been pursued.

The continued menace of Commercial motorcyclists, also known as Okada has been blamed on the lack of stringent laws that reflect the reality of the day.

This was even as the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) renewed collaboration with the Police and several other security agencies on how to enforce the partial ban and extant route restrictions in some parts of the nation’s capital.

To tackle the issues, FCTA held a consultative and strategy meeting on Tuesday with heads of Security agencies and paramilitary organisations, especially those in charge of the areas where the partial ban of Okada subsists.

The Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Dr Abdulateef Bello, said while enforcement against the insecurity and recklessness of the operators of Commercial motorcyclists has remained a priority, getting strong legislative backing was been pursued.

Bello noted that when Abuja’s transportation masterplan was designed, Okada operation was not contemplated, and therefore has no laws, with stringent punitive measures to deter violators.

He, however, lamented that a situation where an offending Okada operator is arrested and taken to court, but tried and fined a paltry sum of N200 or N500, was discouraging.

Also, the Director, FCTA Security Services, Adamu Gwari noted that reviewing transportation laws in Abuja has become very expedient in order to seamlessly carry out enforcement that will restore all round sanity.

Gwari who commended the efforts of all components of the task force involved in the enforcement activities in the city also urged for more synergies.

Also Speaking, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Comrade Ikharo Attah explained that the strategy meeting was convened to fast-track the desired results in curtailing the illegalities involving Okada operators.

Attah said that getting the Police, Road Safety Corps, the Civil Defence and others to make more commitment, was to ensure that the menace of Okada operation was better managed.

According to him, FCT Minister has instructed that the areas where route restrictions exist in the city against Okada operation, must be effectively enforced and that no violator should be spared.

The Assistant Corps Commander in Charge of Lugbe, Ohaeri Osondu, said the excesses associated with the Okada operation in Abuja, were not just a worrisome menace, but a security threat that must be tackled by all stakeholders.

Osondu noted that almost on a daily basis, reports of accidents and even deaths, involving Okada operators were being recorded.

Also, in their earlier remarks, the Divisional Police Officers in charge of Lugbe and Galadimawa Chukwudi Ugochukwu and Victor Asebiomo respectively bemoaned the illegalities and crimes that were always linked to Okada operators.

Both of them also called on FCT Administration to hasten up all processes that would end the Okada menace and save the city from unwarranted deaths and criminalities.