In a recent interview with Mrs. Deborah Osho, Head of Operations at the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), the rationale behind the crushing of impounded commercial motorcycles, commonly known as “Okada,” was discussed in light of legal provisions. Also Read: https://legalattorneyblog.com/2023/09/10/collaborative-efforts-between-kebbi-state-governor-and-nigerian-bar-association-aim-to-improve-healthcare-accessibility-in-nigeria/
On August 31, the Joint Task Force Team of the FCTA impounded and subsequently crushed 400 commercial motorcycles for illegal operations within the city of Abuja. The Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Garba Haruna, who led the operation, emphasized that this action was carried out in accordance with the law that prohibits commercial motorcycle operations within the city.
This measure is not new, as similar enforcement actions have been undertaken in the past as part of the ongoing efforts to enforce the ban on Okada operations within the city center. The Federal Capital Territory Road Transport Regulation of 2005 clearly designates specific areas where Okada riders are allowed to operate, excluding the city center.
Hajiya Amina Salihu, the then Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Information and Strategy, announced the ban on Okada in the city center, effective from October 1, 2006. The city center, in the context of the FCT, includes districts covered by Phase 1 of the master plan, such as Wuse, Central Business District, Three Arms Zone, Maitama, Asokoro, Utako, Wuye, Garki, Diplomatic Zone, Mabushi, Katampe, Gwarinpa, and Gudu. Okada riders were allowed to operate freely in other areas of the FCT.
According to Mrs. Osho, the ban remains in force, and part of the enforcement process involves crushing impounded Okada motorcycles within the bounds of the law. She explained that the law provides for the crushing of impounded motorcycles on two grounds: those impounded for constituting security threats and those impounded with a court forfeiture order.
The decision to ban Okada within the city center was prompted by public concerns about their misuse in criminal activities, including quick getaways from crime scenes, kidnappings, snatching valuables, and causing accidents. This raised security concerns, leading to the classification of commercial motorcycles as a security threat within the city.
Regarding awareness among Okada operators, Mrs. Osho stated that they had been sensitized well in advance of the ban in 2006. Government agencies and security forces also held numerous meetings with their leadership, reminding them of the ban and the consequences of being caught.
In conclusion, residents are advised against patronizing Okada for their safety, and those purchasing motorcycles for riders are urged to refrain from doing so, as any impounded Okada within the city will continue to be crushed.
The FCTA is taking this action to strengthen the enforcement of the ban and address issues of alleged corruption in the seizures, ensuring that impounded motorcycles are properly disposed of through recycling companies, with proceeds deposited into government accounts.
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