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Akure
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Curtailing Okada Menace in Ondo

It was hoped the order restricting commercial motorcycles (popularly called Okada) to operate between 6am and 6pm by the Ondo State government would curtail criminal activities perpetrated with Okada. Unfortunately, it has exacerbated as some daylight robbery incidents in the state capital, Akure, have been traced to them.  

ASIDE using okada to snatch valuables from victims, the riders often attack unsuspecting motorists and other victims mostly along narrow roads. They may feign accident to make vehicles coming from opposite direction to stop so as to attack and rob unsuspecting drivers at gun point. The robbers, while mostly targeting women, also trail victims from banks before robbing them of their money as soon as they get to secluded places. They most times cover their faces with hoodies, nose masks, black goggles and fez caps.

REPORTS reveal that the daylight robbers also use taxis to rob unsuspecting passengers. Some of the flashpoints of the criminals in Akure, the state capital, are: Oda road, Oke-Ijebu, Adebowale area of Ondo road, Agbogbo area of Owo express road, Aule, First Bank/Government House road, Alagbaka, Old Garage – FUTA, Road block, FUTA North Gate, among others. This ugly development in the state capital is unsettling many people who are already fatigued by socio economic problems only to be assaulted by Okada bandits on their way home.

THE state must not see this as mere robbery incidences or nefarious activities; it is more like a war declared by the dare devil criminals and must be treated as one. Their actions are a clear and deviant disregard for lawful order of the state and must be appropriately curtailed.

WE urge the State government under the ever-security conscious leadership of ArakunrinOluwarotimiAkeredolu to deploy the security apparatus in the state to bring these evil men involved into facing the wrath of law.

AS much as we are aware of Okada registration in the state, we observe many riders still ply their trade without wearing the appropriate orange uniform. Additionally, there are still some commercial motorcycles operating without number plates. We thereby recommend that the state government should adopt the Lagos state model. Any commercial motorcyclist arrested without proper registration with the government must be arrested and incarcerated. Such offenders should be treated as criminals and not mere offenders.

EQUALLY, motorcycles without duly approved number plates should be confiscated and destroyed.

PART of our observation is that many commercial motorcyclists mask up in the name of protecting their eyes and nose. This is unacceptable, considering the security situation in the country and the evils perpetrated with Okada. The state government should outlaw such dressing among the riders. Taxis without state registration numbers and colour must be impounded and auctioned.

WHILE we acknowledge the giant strides of the state government in ensuring lives and property are protected, these recommendations should not be limited to Akure state capital alone but extended to all the 18 local government areas of the state. Reports show that many riders in the remote towns rarely adhere to state government directives on transportation and Okada is used to perpetrate evils in these localities. Doing this will prevent chasing criminals from the cities to the remote villages but out of the state.

WE call on citizens to be more security conscious whenever they board Okada or taxis. Any rider with masked face, without registration jacket showing his number and commercial plate number attached to his bike should not be patronised. Such a rider should rather be reported to the police or any other security outfit in the state. Residents must also not patronise any taxi without the state registration number printed on its body. They must endeavour to memorise these numbers when boarding any taxi, especially in the early hours of the day or late at night.

SECURITY cannot be left to government alone. Religious houses, banks, companies and other corporate organisations, private parks and individuals should comply with the directive of the state government to have CCTV cameras installed in their facilities. Government should also make such facility available at some strategic locations in the state to aid policing.

SECURITY is best handled locally. We appeal to the traditional rulers across the state to deploy their traditional powers and systems to apprehend criminals in their localities. Information about any suspected individual or group should be promptly communicated to the police or other security agencies in the state.

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