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Boko Haram: Fear grips Lagosians as foreigners monopolise Okada business


Boko Haram: Fear grips Lagosians as foreigners monopolise Okada business

Residents of Lagos State are now living in palpable fear as foreigners of predominantly Niger and Chadian extraction take over the business of commercial motorcycle popularly known as okada in the state. In this piece, CYRIACUS NNAJI writes that Lagosians want the Government to come to their aid.
When the Nigerian soldiers success­fully dislodged the Boko Horam protagonists in the Nigerian Northeast, many were happy, but the truth remains that the in­surgents are now all over the country. Many say, there is hardly any difference be­tween the modus oparandi of the herdsmen and those of Boko Haram. Evidently run­away Boko Haram insurgents have been arrested in Ekiti State and Lagos. All these put together, Lagos residents now live in fear because 95 per cent of okada riders in Lagos are foreigners.
This fear does not only arise because of the frightening number, but these riders have the strange mien to learn and acquaint themselves to the nook and cranny of the state in a matter of days once they land in Lagos. With these sce­nario, concerned citizens fear that there is no hiding place for Lagosian in the case of any eventuality.
Again these crowd of okada riders have a way of strategi­cally positioning themselves in such a way that they domi­nate prominent and more lucrative middle class loca­tions and bus-stops, making money from the good people of that area and sending them to untimely death most of the time. At this period of eco­nomic difficulty, many of the okada riders have colluded with armed robbers and dia­bolic ritual practitioners to cause mayhem and take away belongings of the unsuspect­ing passengers.
Lagosians conjecture that the riders may be retired and fleeing Boko Haram mem­bers who easily acclimatized to the peaceful commercial environment which Lagos offers, they therefore call for vigilance.
Okada, some argue, facili­tates movement that is quick, but many posed the question: How save is the movement?
The AUTHORITY spoke to a woman who gave her name as Yetunde, she said, “We are just living at the mer­cy of God, I don’t think we are really, really save. This okada riders are simply everywhere, and many of them are not Ni­gerians, how can government allow all these to be happen­ing. If they are members of Boko Haram how are we to know, let government do something, please,”
Chika Elue just alighted from a motorcycle operated by one of the foreigners when The AUTHORITY confront­ed him, he said “My brother, what can one do? From here now to Apapa, once you pass Berger Bridge, you cannot go further with your car, so we depend on okada and these Northerners are all we see, thank you.”
Second Rainbow along Os­hodi/Apapa Expressway has become a bedlam resulting from the cacophony created by the unruly and inappro­priate behavior of the young but dare devil foreign Okada riders. From Mile 2 to Okoko, Cele to Okota, Igando to Ejig­bo, to mention a few, the story is the same.
Again, Apapa, with its dominant feature as a place where many Northerners do business in Lagos, the rid­ers find natural habitat there. From Berger Under-Bridge down to Tin Can and Apa­pa Wharf, the okada riders, some of them less than 18 years of age constitute irrita­tion on the road. Many a time they carry two passengers. Concerned citizens even feel some tanker and trailer driv­ers deliberately park their vehicles indiscriminately causing gridlock so that the business of okada by their kin along Wharf and Tin Can could thrive. - THE AUTHORITY

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