Against the backdrop of growing menace constituted by commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, the Lagos State government has imposed a fresh ban to curtail the unruly activities of the riders.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, announced a total ban on Okada on all highways across six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the State.
Effective from June 1, 2022, the governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. The affected councils are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa.
The total ban order extends to all LCDAs under the listed councils.
The governor gave out the directive at a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) at the State House in Alausa.
The fresh Okada ban followed the February 2020 restriction placed on the activities of the commercial motorcycles.
Sanwo-Olu said the government took the decision in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by operations of Okada in the listed areas.
Sanwo-Olu told the police to enforce the order without compromise, sternly warning that the state government would not condone any security formation that relaxes the new ban in its jurisdiction.
He said: “After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Governments and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total.”
Sanwo-Olu advised residents patronising Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the government to plan their journey. He said the government had provided Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.
The governor insisted that Okada riding on the highways remained unsafe and would no longer be tolerated. He said the state government had been ramping up construction work on its two rail line projects to further increase the choices of commuting for residents.
He said: “We have provided Last Mile buses in the affected areas; they are working and effective. We also have medium-capacity buses and high-capacity buses working in these areas. Before the end of the year, we are also bringing the rail along these corridors with their terminals. We have provided jetties as well to provide alternatives.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws. The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.”
The Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, directed his men to ensure a complete enforcement of the governor’s order in the listed councils and areas.
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NUPENG Ex-chief Frank Kokori Is Dead
A former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori has died at the age of 80 years.
Chief Frank Kokori breathed his last at a kidney treatment hospital in Warri, Delta State, in the early hours of today, Thursday.
One of his aides, who confirmed the painful development said he would want the family to formally break the news to the media.
“He passed on this night. I would want the family to break the news formally to the media.
“I am his aide but at this moment I am not to speak on this until the family issues a statement,” he said.
Kokori’s health relapsed on Monday, and the veteran labour leader was placed on life support.
Kokori made a distress call over his failing health status last month.
He lamented that in spite of his key role in the growth of the nation’s democracy, he had been abandoned.
At the hospital last month, he said: “I came to this hospital when I was told there is a place like this in Warri.
“They have been doing their best. In the midnight, they put their generator off. But I begged them to run it that I will pay their bills.
“I came on Tuesday. After the dialysis, I have been here. I could have just died because of lack of diesel. So I had to beg them to run their generator so the air conditioner, AC, in the ward can function. I need it to be alive.
“It got to a stage that I could not take a flight, I could not walk . If it was when I was in NUPENG, I would have been flown out with air ambulance immediately.”
When the Military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 13, 1993 presidential election, Kokori was involved in mobilising the masses against the government.
He led NUPENG and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, in organising nationwide strikes that crippled the oil industry.
Also, Frank Kokori was actively involved in pro-democracy activities, organising and participating in rallies and demonstrations.
“If I wanted to compromise, the military (junta of late General Sani Abacha) was ready to give me anything but I stood for democracy, believing that democracy would usher in a better Nigeria.
“The refineries were working before I retired from NUPENG.
“I became the tribune of the country, heading the freedom fighters. Some of us were underground, disguised for 10 weeks fighting the military.
“The military sent presidential jet to pick me to compromise, but I refused.”
Ogun To Provide Shelter For Victims Of Gender Based Violence -Abiodun
The Ogun State Government on Wednesday said it would provide a befitting accommodation for victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun made this known in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when he received his wife and other women, who were on a road show as part of activities for the 16 days’ Activism Against Gender Based Violence in the state.
The governor, who acknowledged that gender violence has become pronounced among males and females in the country, assured that the state government would provide a befitting building to serve as a shelter for people that have been sexually harassed or subjected to other forms of molestation in the state.
The shelter, he said, will save them from the stigma usually associated with the problem.
He added that the government would also work towards instituting a Gender Based Violence Trust Funds to finance the welfare of the victims.
“You want us to ensure that we have a befitting shelter and you made a case for that, and you emphasized the fact that people abused in the house or at home can not go back home. There are those who do not have anywhere else to go back to. There is a lot of stigma associated with those who are abused.
“I believe that we have identified somewhere previously, but I am told that it may not be befitting.
“By this, I am now instructing the Secretary to the State Government to work with the Ministry of Housing to identify a building; if they can’t find one, we identify a parcel of land and we will construct a befitting building to serve as the needed shelter for those persons who have been subjected to all kinds of sexual harassment,” he said.
On the call for a specialized court to try cases of gender based violence in the state, Governor Abiodun said: “Fortunately, our head of court in Ogun State is a woman. In fact, the two courts we have, the state High ourt and the Customary Court of Appeal, are both headed by women. I am sure that the Chief Judge will be more than happy to see what she can do to expedite the request.”
The state helmsman also assured stakeholders that his administration would support women at the executive level and at the judiciary to ensure that all that is required to reduce gender violence to the barest minimum in the state, is implemented.
Governor Abiodun also brought to the fore the need to look into violence against men.
He said: “I also want to bring to the fore that violence against persons is not only violence against women . Men also are being abused. But often times, nobody talks about that, and I want to be the advocate for men who are being abused.
“On the Gender Based Violence Trust Fund, I will do everything that I can to ensure that we sit down and plan on how to mobilize resources towards this noble cause.
“Once again, I want to assure you that I do identify with you and as your Governor, I will do everything within my power to ensure that we reduce this incidence of gender based violence to an absolute minimum in Ogun State.”
In her remarks, wife of the governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun noted that there was an increase in cases of rape and incest in the society, calling for the provision of a safe space for those who have been abused or harassed.
Earlier, an expert on gender based violence, Dr. Mojisola Akinsanya noted that there was an urgent need to relocate women who have experienced violence at home for them to have a peaceful place to stay.
Dr. Akinsanya, who advocated for a Gender Based Violence Trust Fund in the state, acknowledged poverty as the driving force for GBV, noting that once women are well empowered, they would adequately cater for themselves.
Mike Ozekhome Fined For ‘Demonising’ Supreme Court
For ‘demomising’ the Supreme Court, rights activist and Constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome has incurred a fine of N40 million .
This development occurred in a ruling by Justice Tijani Abubakar, who ordered the Senior lawyer to personally pay the N40 million fine to the four respondents he took to court in respect of the Imo governorship tussle decided since 2019.
Abubakar held in the ruling that the request was strange, frivolous, baseless, unwarranted, vexatious and irritating.
He further held that the motion was a calculated design to demonise the Supreme Court.
Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN called to the Nigerian Bar over 42 years ago was fined the huge amount for bringing a motion before the Apex Court seeking to revalidate the suit that removed Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State in 2019.
Those to be paid are the Action People’s Party, APP, Uche Nnadi, Uche Nwosu and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
In the motion considered to be frivolous by the court, Ozekhome had asked the Court for a consequential order to compel INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Ihedioha to enable him to spend a four- year tenure as Imo Governor.
His grouse was that the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodinma unlawfully spent the four years which Ihedioha ought to spend.
Among others, Ozekhome in the motion claimed that the All Progressives Congress APC had no candidate in the 2019 Imo governorship election, hence, Uzodinmma ought not to have been made governor on the platform of APC.
However, the apex court dismissed the motion on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to entertain such a motion.
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