Lagos—Lagos State Government, yesterday, said the number of accidents involving commercial motorcyclists, popularly called okada riders have increased in the last four months by 34 percent.
Meantime, the state government revealed that at least 61,138 vehicles that violated the state Road Traffic Law were impounded in 2014, even as it said 400 Bus Rapid Transit, BRT buses would soon be injected into the transport fleet to further ease movement of commuters in the state.
Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who disclosed this at the annual ministerial press briefing in Alausa, Ikeja, lamented that the number of okada-related accidents reduced previously by 81 percent before the latest upsurge.
According to him, “We have started witnessing an increase since January 2015, both in reported death cases and injuries. Specifically, injuries in Okada related accidents have increased by 34 percent when compared with the 4th quarter of 2014.
“This is largely due to the resurgence of okada as public transportation on our roads with impunity most especially in local areas like: Ikeja, Isolo, Apapa, Agege, Epe, Ijede, Shomolu/ Bariga, Ifako ijaiye/Ojokoro, Ikorodu, Mushin, Badagry, Lagos Mainland, Ojodu, Ketu and ojota”, he said.
He, however said that the government transport strategies have “prevented an average of 476 okada-related injuries monthly and 5,712 yearly.
‘’By implication, we have prevented a total of 14,220 okada accident related injuries since 2012.”
There was a reduction in the number of okada related accidents, following the enforcement of Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012, which restricted operations of okada in some 475 out of 10,000 roads in the state.
The commissioner said that the state government was able to reduce deaths from 192 per year to maximum of six per year.
Opeifa noted that motor vehicle-related accidents have also reduced since 2012 adding that in 2013, it was reduced by 28-31 percent and in 2014 by 31-37 percent.
“The accident prone areas are Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Agbara, Surulere, Apapa, Mainland, Ijede, Ojodu and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway”, he said.
Opeifa while speaking on the additional 400 buses said on the existing corridors, said the BRT buses move about 180, 000 people daily, “and when fully expanded, it is expected that about 400, 000 people will be moved daily by the buses.”
He continued, “In 2007, we inherited the introduction of the BRT system from the visionary government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We completed the construction of Africa’s first BRT Lite corridor which is today one of the world most affordable BRT system on the Mile 12 – CMS through Ikorodu road, Funsho Williams Avenue and Eko Bridge measuring a total of 22 km.
“We have since extended the corridor to Ikorodu town by an additional 13.5 km. We are set to inject about 400 buses to the already 154 currently running.
“On the existing corridor, we move about180,000 on a daily basis and when fully expanded, we hope to move about 400,000 people daily on the average.
“We recently injected 100 air-condition buses and hope to increase the air-condition buses to 250 before the end of 2015. We are proud to say that the 100 air-condition buses are locally assembled just as the last 500 additional buses in 2014 were locally assembled here in Nigeria.”
On impounded vehicles
The commissioner explained that the Lagos Vehicle Inspection Service, VIS impounded 44, 882 while Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA impounded 16,256 vehicles in the year under review.
This figure increased the number of vehicles impounded by both agencies in the last four year to about 289, 371 erring vehicles were impounded by the Lagos State Government in the last four years.
A breakdown of the figure shows that 81, 694 vehicles were impounded by the Lagos Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) while the remaining 207,677 vehicles were impounded by the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).