Posted by News Express | 23 October 2012 | 3,489 times
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria has described protesting commercial motorcycle (okada) riders in the state, who yesterday and today rioted in parts of the state, disrupting operations of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as enemies of the people. It blamed unnamed disgruntled politicians for the riots.
In a statement released this afternoon, Joe Igbokwe, Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, the party said that the ban on commercial motorcycle operations was done with the best interests of the people at heart. It declared that “those hiding under the ban to perpetrate chaos, mayhem and destruction are enemies of the people who seek to hide under the canopy of protesting a laudable government policy to further their hideous political interests.”
Lagos ACN fingered unnamed “desperate politicians” as the brains behind the riots and appealed to Lagosians “to refuse to be recruited to unleash violence and chaos for any reason whatsoever and embrace the state as theirs.”
The ruling party in the state went to great lengths to justify the ban of okada on over 400 roads and vowed that security agents would be used to deal with whoever uses violent means to resist the ban. Below is the text of the statement entitled ‘Lagos ACN Appeals To Lagosians, Warns Perpetrators of Violence Over Okada Ban’:
“Lagos ACN is in no doubt that the Lagos traffic law was enacted with the best interests of Lagosians at heart. With the unseemly impassible nature of roads in Lagos caused by myriads of indiscipline in road usage, it was only natural that a responsible government should come out to deal decisively with this menace and this led to the enactment of the Lagos traffic law, which provides for the ban on commercial motorcycle operation in some 475 roads in Lagos. We know how risky and dangerous commercial motorcycle usage is in a metropolis as Lagos and we all know that countless deaths and maiming have been traceable to such dangerous usage. Again, Lagosians know the faciltatory role commercial motorcycles play in robberies and various other types of urban crimes in Lagos and elsewhere. All these and more factors came into consideration in enacting the new Lagos traffic law, which restricts commercial motorcycle operations to inner streets and roads and take them off busier state roads.
“While we agree that the move is bound to inflict temporary pains and stress on Lagos road users who daily patronize these commercial motorcyclists, we are not in doubt that the long term benefits that come in the nature of saved lives and limbs, less chaos and indiscipline on road usage and a more decent and effective transportation system, far outstrip the temporary pains that are bound to come with this decision. We have appealed to Lagosians to give this new traffic law a chance to succeed for all of us to benefit.
“We are however surprised that some people have vowed to ensure this new law is frustrated and they are the people going around whipping needless sentiments on the ban of commercial motorcycle operators from major state road. They have taken this notches higher by mobilising these operators and other people to visit provocative attacks on Lagos State government properties and vehicles in some parts of the state. We warn that this is dangerous and we want all relevant security agencies to be on alert and deal decisively with those involved in this act. We urge the security agencies to unravel the brains behind these syndicated attacks for we believe strongly that politicians desperate to make political footage in Lagos are fueling and indeed actively involved in these despicable attacks. We urge the security agencies to move in and unmask the perpetrators and sponsors of the mindless violence against the state.
“Lagos ACN recalls that many states have successfully banned the use of commercial motorcycles in their states without the kind of orchestrated mayhem that some people are sponsoring in Lagos and we restate that a state like Lagos does not need to go back to the dark ages to encourage road indiscipline and other forms of primitive just because some people feel it is their normal way of life. We appeal to all Lagosians to remain calm and support the new Lagos traffic law for our collective benefit. We want to appeal to them to refuse to be recruited to unleash violence and chaos for any reason whatsoever and embrace the state as theirs instead of allowing desperate politicians to exploit for their self serving purposes."
*Photo: Joe Igbokwe, Lagos State ACN Publicity Secretary.
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