Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

    Manufacturer's Representative Import Export General Merchandise Contract Adress: Araromi Quarters, Owode Area, Ifo, Ogun state, Nigeria P.O.Box 2632, Oshiodi, Lagos Telephone: 2348166719412

    Thursday, 16 April 2015

    The world of okada riders in Lagos

      Recently, Andrew Ibitoye, a Lagos-based journalist boarded a commercial motorcycle, popularly known as okada at Second Rainbow, along the Lagos-Apapa expressway in Lagos.

    Ibitoye said he planned to link-up Apapa on his way to attend an official assignment at the Nigerian Port Authority, on that fateful Monday morning. But, it turned out to be a black Monday for him.

    “The okada rider, a Hausa boy, who may not be up to 18 years old, was negotiating the transport fare with him partially in pigin English and Hausa language.  We eventually settled for N300 and the journey begun”.

    But, when I noticed that the rider was reckless while driving, I warned him to be a bit careful and along the line, threatened to drop if he refused to listen to me. He (the rider) slowed down for sometime.

    But, on getting close to Mile 2, the rider, who was desperate to negotiate a bend crashed with a trailer that was moving slowly and I was thrown off the bike.

    I fell by the road side and had severe injuries on my two eyes, with blood flowing freely, though I did not know at that point in time whether or not the okadaman sustained injuries or was even died.

    “This was the end of the journey as sympathetic persons came to my aid and eventually rushed me to a private hospital in the area for urgent medical attention”, he said.  

    Ibitoye is lucky to have survived the okada accident. But, as Mrs Mary Nwosu, a nurse with the National Orthopedic Hospital in Yaba, Lagos told our correspondent last week, lots of people knocked down by reckless and restive okada riders in various parts of Lagos have died.

    Where they are not killed by okada accidents, they may loss their legs or hands to the accident, which she said is avoidable, if some okada riders learn to be cautious while driving.

    But, Babatunde Johnson, chairman, Ile-epo unit of okada riders union at Oke-Odo, Lagos   confessed that some of the under-aged riders are reckless, restive, inexperienced and impatient.  

    They want to make more money at the shortest possible time, so they throw caution to the winds and drive as if there is no tomorrow. He alleged that some of young, inexperienced riders may not have valid riders’ cards issued by the Lagos state government.

    Abule Egba is a popular bus-stop in Lagos. But, it is one place under-aged okada riders, who are said to be either from Niger or the northern parts of the country converge daily in search of passengers.

    Total filling station, Ekoro road junction and Balogun Street, close to the secretariat of Oke-Odo local council development authority are some of the points these riders wait in search of passengers.

    Unconfirmed report has it that a certain businessman of the northern stock, who sells wares at the popular Kotangowa market in Abule Egba, brought these under-aged okada riders from the northern parts of the country to Lagos, where he bought cyclists for them to operate on agreed percentage bases.

    Akpan Etim, a rider at the bus-stop said that from Ekoro to Agbeleke area in Abule Egba attract N100 from a passenger. But, “regrettably, some of these under-aged and inexperienced okada riders are willing to collect N50 for the same journey”.

    Observations further revealed that Oko –Oba, Pen Cinema, Oshiodi bus-stop, Iyana Ipaja, Ikeja bus-stop, Agege, Igando, Ikotun, Obalende, Orile Iganmu, Igando, Mile 12, Mile 2, and Igando  are some of the areas where these riders are often seen.

    At the Agege Local government secretariat, one Joseph Bankole, a staff of the secretariat told our correspondent on Wednesday that N1, 300 is collected from okada riders, who wish to be issued with the riders’ cards in addition with one passport photograph.

    With this, a form will be issued to the person to fill and return to the secretariat with a photocopy of his birthday certificate or age declarations before it could be processed, where the card will eventually be issued.


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