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Lagos Hausa community seeks okada ban reversal, promises Sanwo-Olu massive votes

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Some leaders of the Hausa community in Lagos State have appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reverse the ban on Okada operations in six local government areas of the state.

The leaders, who spoke in separate interviews with The PUNCH, on Wednesday, said Okada riders who hail from northern Nigeria contribute significantly to the voting population of Lagos and should not be economically strangulated.

Sanwo-Olu had on Wednesday banned the operations of commercial motorcycle riders in six Local Governments and nine Local Government Development Areas in the state.

The affected councils are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Apapa.

The governor said, “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.”

But the Seriki of Obalende, Saliu Waziri, told The PUNCH that the government should rethink its decision.

Waziri said the government should instead get the data of Okada riders in Lagos to fish out any intruder or criminally-minded fellows.

He said, “This issue has taken us a long time and we have been trying to put our members on the line. I want to advise the government to rethink its decision because Lagos can’t operate without bikes because of traffic. Government should register Okada riders in each local government to know those working in any local government. By so doing, the government would know who to pick when any issue arises.

“Some of our members stay here in Lagos and vote during elections. That should count for something because we contribute to votes during elections. The government should change the system of Okada riders not stopping them.”

Waziri, however, ruled out the possibility of taking any legal action against the state government.

The Seriki Hausa of Ajah, Ibrahim Ngoma, agreed with his Obalende counterpart that the government should consider the voting population of Hausa Okada riders in Lagos.

“Truth be told, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been understanding with Okada people unlike Governor (Babatunde) Fashola. Okada members should obey the law while I appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to look into the matter and lift the ban before the election because the ban is affecting my people,” he said.

Also, another leader of the Hausa community in Lagos, Iliyasu Kira, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to reverse the ban.

According to the Seriki Hausa in Shasha in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, the voting population of the Hausa Okada riders in Lagos is not something the government want to joke with.

He said, “I appeal to the government to leave Okada riders to continue their operations. These Okada riders help the government during elections with votes. Our voting population in Lagos constitutes over 2.7 million because most of us vote here in Lagos. We are not all bad people.

“Many of our people are Okada riders in Lagos. If the government claims that robbers are rampant among Okada riders, then the government should sieve out the criminals. The government should provide replacement for our members affected by the ban.

“We don’t have the power to start any legal case with the government. This is why I am appealing with the government to reconsider the ban.”

An aide to the Sarkin Hausawa of Agege, Abdullahi Salihu, in a chat with The PUNCH, said the Hausa community in the state will not challenge the government’s ban.He said, “The Chieftaincy Council of Hausa Community in Agege, under his Royal Highness, Alhaji Musa Muhammed Dogon Kadai, doesn’t challenge government laws. We believe that whenever government makes a law, it’s for the best of the general public. So, challenging the government’s law is like saying we don’t want the betterment of the state. We know that many of our people earn their daily income from the Okada business but that doesn’t mean that because of their own income we should jeopardise the security of lives and property in the state.”

Salihu said he also spoke with the Sarkin in three of the affected LGAs, saying they gave the same position as that of the Hausa leadership in Agege.

He said, “Majority of them are on the same page as we are here. They said our stand on the issue is also their stand, so that’s the resolution we have reached. We are urging every member of the community to abide by the rules and laws of the state government. Anybody found wanting, we’ll not be reliable for the person’s act because the law is the law anywhere. We cannot get our people to protest or take action against the law of the state government. So, that is the resolution we all came about after I called them.”

Criminals won’t be allowed in other LGs – Okada union

Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria, said the ban does not affect its members.

Those six local governments you mentioned, we, ACOMORAN do not operate there. So, we are not affected. We operate in eight local governments in Lagos,” the Lagos chairman of the association, Olaoluwa Ogundare, told our correspondent in a telephone interview.

Speaking on the possible exodus of Okada riders from the affected areas to ACOMORAN’s territory including the Alimosho LGA, Ogundare said, “Our members are all registered and easily identified when they commit any atrocity. We also issue identity cards to them. Majority of the Hausa people affected are not registered. Those who want to move to our zone must register; we must have their data because we don’t want anyone to implicate us.”

An online petition started by one Ronke Onadeko to ban Okada in Lagos following the gruesome killing of Mr David Imoh in Lekki axis by suspected motorcyclists has garnered 1,510 signatures as of 5.05 pm on Wednesday.

Imoh was lynched by some okada operators on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Lekki, Lagos State. Two other people, Francis Olatimji and Phillip Balogun, were hospitalised in the incident.

On Tuesday, a day prior to Sanwo-Olu’s directive, the Lagos State Taskforce, led by its chairman, CSP Shola Jejeloye, stormed the axis in a sting operation at mid-day and seized 115 motorcycles for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the state’s highways.

According to Jejeloye, the operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the state.

He further appealed to Lagosians to join efforts with the government in its efforts to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos roads.

He said, “Restoring sanity is not an easy task, neither is it a job for one man or the Agency alone. If we join hands together we will achieve our desired goals of ensuring that no one takes the laws into their hands and gets away with it, especially not in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos.”

The Punch

International

Over 100 injured in Spanish train collision

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At least 150 people have been injured after two trains collided in the Catalonia region of north-eastern Spain, emergency services have said.

The crash, which occurred around 07:50 (06:50 GMT), took place at a station on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Local media reported that the trains had been travelling in the same direction and collided while one was parked at the station.

It is unclear how the accident happened and officials have yet to comment.

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Emergency officials wrote on Twitter that the crash happened at the Montcada i Reixac – Manresa station, about 12km (7 miles) from the city centre.

Writing on Twitter, emergency services said that 150 people were “in a mild condition” and five others had been left with “in a less serious condition”.

They added that three people had been transferred to hospital.

Train traffic was briefly disrupted on several lines due to the accident, the national rail service Renfe said.

One passenger told RAC1, a local radio station, that “train was full and my carriage, which was the last one, was completely full” at the time of the collision.

BBC News
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ICPC Arraigns Rector, others over N6m fraud

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The Rector, Samuel Timi Johnson and the Acting Bursar, Werepere Martins Degbegha of the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, as well as one Yerikema Tony Tombra have been arraigned for their complicity in a Six Million Naira (N6,000,000) fraud.

The defendants were brought before Honorable Justice M.A Ayemieye of High Court 2, sitting in Yenagoa, by ICPC, on allegations bordering on ‘using office to confer corrupt advantage, conspiracy & making false statement.’

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ICPC, in a 7-count charge, is accusing the Rector and the Acting Bursar of conspiring and using their offices to confer corrupt advantage on themselves when they withdrew the above sum from the confers of the institute under the guise of spending the money on renovations of a viewing centre in Tropani Community while investigation revealed otherwise.

Newsbreak

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Fuel queues to end soon, says NMDPRA

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The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) yesterday said the queues at filling stations will soon disappear as marketers commence massive loading of petrol.

The Chief Executive Officer Farouk Ahmed spoke while leading a delegation of the Authority on a stock monitoring exercise within depots in Lagos.

The delegation visited the NIPCO, Total, Aiteo, OVH, Conoil, 11 Plc and HOGL depots in Apapa.

Farouk said: “I am comfortable with the load-out of petrol across the depots.
“The current distribution of petrol across the nation will address the issue of tightness in the market.”

The NMDPRA boss said all depots in Apapa had products and were loading massively to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other states.

He said three vessels were also discharging petrol at Apapa jetty to depots.

Farouk urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying.

According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) stock report shows that there is enough product.

Managing Director of NIPCO Plc, Mr Suresh Kumar, said the company had about 28 million litres in stock and has commenced loading to all NIPCO stations.

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”We are expecting two more vessels to come. This will increase our stock capacity to 55 million litres,” he said.

Also, 11 Plc is loading 100 trucks of petrol daily with nine million in stock, while Aiteo is loading 126 trucks daily with 20 million litres of stock capacity.

TotalEnergies loads 100 trucks daily with 65 million litres of stock, and OVH is loading 70 trucks with over 10 million litres.

Also yesterday, the Lagos Satellite Depot Branch of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), urged the Federal Government to ensure that all marketers are given a level playing ground to operate in the industry.

Chairman of the Lagos Satellite Depot, IPMAN, Mr. Akin Akinrinade, alleged that NNPCL of not meeting up the supply needs of marketers.

According to him, IPMAN members are now forced to buy the product from private depots at higher ex-depot prices.

He added that consultations are ongoing for the Association to take a position if the NNPCL does not arrange for IPMAN members to load petrol at the government price of N148.17 per litre within the next seven days.

“How do you explain the fact that major marketers and the NNPC retail outlets sell petrol at N170/litre and N169/litre at their stations, respectively, and still make a profit?

“Why is it impossible for the private depots to sell to IPMAN members at regulated prices since they get their supplies from the same source as major marketers?

“Nobody seems to be interrogating this obvious anomaly,” he said.

Flanked by other executive members of the Association, Akinrinade was categorical that his members have gotten to a point where they may boycott the depots “until the NNPC thinks it fit to arrange depots for us to load petrol at government approved price”.

Ex-depot petrol price soars to N235/litre

Private depots have increased the petrol price to N235 per litre.

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Besides, the regulator (NMDPRA) has not updated the sole importer – NNPCL – of PMS stock sufficiency record on its website since November 24.

The opaqueness is at variance with the transparency that the Federal Government and NNPCL prided themselves on when the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) came into force last year.

Besides, the NNPCL spokesman, Malam Garba Deen Muhammad, has been unreachable since the prolonged petrol scarcity began as Nigerians groan.

He has also refused to reply to the text messages asking to explain why the petrol scarcity persists.

Similarly, the NMDPRA Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Apollo Kimchi, has also not responded to our correspondent’s messages on the lingering scarcity.

IPMAN National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, said the NNPCL’s distribution tactics had aggravated the dearth of the product.

According to him, NNPCL only supplies petrol to private depot owners and major marketers.

Maigandi said: “The scarcity is because of the way NNPC is distributing the product.

“They are only giving it to private depot owners and when they give private depot owners they sell it at a higher rate to independent petroleum marketers.

“Presently, marketers are buying this product at the rate of N235 per litre.

“Since the time NNPC said the fuel will be available before the festivity period till now we have not seen any change.”

The Nation

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