Further to its immediate confiscation and crushing of commercial motorcycles otherwise known as Okada plying within the nation’s city centre and other prohibited places, the joint enforcement team of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) took its massive raid exercise to major roads connecting communities along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport road, Abuja.
In particular, the team accompanied by operatives from Police, military and paramilitary stormed and ransacked Okada operators caught while operating in the area, thereafter, a total of 432 motorcycles were crushed.
Top officials of FCTA, and heads representing various security agencies including paramilitary organisations domiciled in the FCT observed the crushing exercise, which took place inside an open space at Lugbe Car Wash, along the Airport road corridor.
Areas raided include Bill Clinton interchange, Karon-Majiji, Kuchingoro, Piwoyi Junction near Shoprite mall, Lugbe FHA, popular Lugbe Car wash, Police signboard, along Airport Road, all in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), where the taskteam clampdown on some riders, who attempted to flee the scene.
Reacting to the development, Chairman taxi operators, Car Wash Bus Stop in the area, Adebola Oluomo, said without the exercise, the road will be closed, as there a lot of obstructions due to the activities of the defaulting Okada operators.
He said: “They are always on the expressway riding recklessly against the traffic, and no body could control them, as if anyone talk, they will stab you with knife.
“The taskforce are always coming around, but the Okada operators will be stoning them, as they belief that they are the owners of Abuja.
“So, the government should continue with the exercise, as if it is like that Abuja will be very clean and the road will be safe for all.”
Explaining the exercise, Secretary, FCT Transportation Secretariat, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, reiterated that the government will not relent on the reinvigorated effort to rid the city of the menace.
Candido warned the operators and owners of commercial motorcycles to keep off the major roads of Abuja, especially the city centres and the gateways into the FCT.
Similarly, Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Abdulateef Bello, said the exercise, which is the 3rd in the series of its signature enforcement of the ban okada operations in the city, is a proof to its zero tolerance of the menace.
According to him, their continued insistence to operate in the city is no longer a traffic offence, but a serious security breach that required the intervention of the government, hence the involvement of military and paramilitary agencies to effectively tackle it.
Recall that although that motorcyclists have been banned from operating within the city, but many operators are seemly recalcitrant, thereby allegedly causing all sort of threats to lives and property in the city.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, said the choice of the location for the signature exercise was in order to send a strong signal to the perpetrators in a different direction, adding that as long as they remain recalcitrant, the FCTA remain resolute to clamp down on them.
He said: “During the raid, we got okada totally about 432 for today, and we are hoping that with the resolve of the DRTS, we will be seeing more impounded.
“The Airport road is the gateway into Abuja, and what people see is what they describe of Abuja. Seeing Okadamen riding against traffic into the city, being so unruly and breaking the law at will paints Abuja in a very bad light. This is why the Minister of the FCT resolved that we must get them off the highways especially the Airport road and the Bill Clinton Drive.
“The Minister has resolved that throughout the yuletide period, lawlessness will not be allowed in the city. So enforcement against illegalities will be non-stop throughout the yuletide period, and going forward for those who may want to commit illegality is going to be a real one”.
By Fatima Abubakar.