By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The Chairman, Oyo State Road Transport and Management Authority (OYRTMA), Mogaji (Dr) Akin Fagbemi has said there is no plan by the state government to ban tricycle and motorcycle “Okada” operators in the state.
Speaking with Western Post in Ibadan on Tuesday, he said, the agency is saddled with the plans to bring sanity and safety to the sector adding that their operation is an integral part of the system and informal way of employment.
The OYRTMA boss said the agency is going to follow strict regulations in enforcing the rules and laws of the agency such that will make them comply.
According to him, “I don’t think we are going to toe the path of banning tricycle and motorcycle because we have not gotten any other job for them.
“our amiable governor of the pacesetters state has no plan to ban Okada riders and tricycle operators. What we are working on is the safety and sanity of the system.”
Speaking on the issue of one passenger, one rider by the agency, he said the rule became imperative in order to curb the menace of accident and needles lost of lives.
He said the challenges observed is that riders do not have requisite training, adding that majority of the Okada riders are always on drugs.
He said, “Another thing is that many of them commit very serious crimes like robbery and kidnapping with Okada and that is why the agency is bringing up some laws, rules, and regulations to curb the excesses of Okada riders.
“And if you look at it, you will notice that In Oyo state, we don’t have all forms of regulations. Lagos has advanced, it has gone beyond all of these we are doing in Oyo State.
“Any state you see that is economically viable, such state is likely going to experience traffic congestion. A lot of people want to come to the state to do business. If you do not checkmate the traffic system, you will discover that traffic congestion can militate against the economy.”
Fagbemi said the agency is going to make it mandatory for them to obey simple traffic laws in order to control and reduce accident and other problems on our roads.
“There are three measures we are looking at on the issue of enforcement on Okada riders. One, you have to let the people know the reason for the enforcement. We did between October and December of last year.
“We went on enlightenment campaign but they thought we have forgotten. The laws are not new, but we will let them know.
“Their leaders promised they are going to comply and we gave them till January 13, 2020 as the deadline for our enforcement, thereafter, we went on a mild enforcement.”
“The next thing is that we are going to give them fines that will pinch them and it is going to be at various rates. But the readiness to comply is also key in the enforcement. Many of them are not seeing it as if we are serious.
“We have magistrate court which has started fining them up to the tune of N50,000, some are even N70,000. All these are to deter them. But on my own, I use to slash the fine because many of them are old people who are supposed to be catered for by their children. Though, some of them are first offenders.”
On the same issue of N50,000 fine, he said there was no way any member of the agency could have gone to impose that kind of fine on any commercial Okada rider adding that it was a misconception.
Fagbemi said the activities of the agency are very effective in all the zones of the state, adding that they have active officers in all commands.