Passengers safety, security under threat as ‘Okada’ riders take over Lagos airport


Abiola Seun

Safety and security of air passengers at the Lagos airports is currently under threat as motorcyclists (also known as Okada) has taken over the Lagos Airport access road.

It was gathered that The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had restricted operation of Okada riders at the Lagos airport with billboards erected at several points of the airports, thereby, warning against operation of riders.

But, due to weak or lack of enforcement from FAAN and other relevant authorities, the restriction have been violated with reckless abandon by the riders who have field day accessing the airport.

This has, however, raised concerns among aviation stakeholders who believed the okada menace currently threaten peace, security, safety of passengers as well as facilities in the Lagos airport and should be addressed by concerned authorities.

They also argued that FAAN lacks the political will to enforce the ban, saying most riders are either their staff or belong to other security forces in the country.

Speaking on this development, the Secretary General, Aviation Round Table Initiative (ARTi), Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said the riders are threat to security at the Lagos airport.

Ojikutu, a former commandant of the Lagos Airport said they could be responsible for series of security breaches recorded at the Lagos airport.

“Much more and could be insiders threats; who is keeping watch over them? Up till now, nobody has told us how the stowaway got into the airport neither have we been told how the man found on the wing of Maxair found his way into the airport.”

“There are more security threats at MMA than the Okada; the airport is in the midst of uncontrolled urban development areas and complicated road networks,” he said.

Also speaking, the immediate past Secretary-General, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Com. Olayinka Abioye, bemoamed the influx of motorcyclists in a security and restricted area such as the airport.

Abioye said FAAN was responsible for the violation of the order restricting motorcycles from plying the Lagos airport.

His words, ” FAAN made the rules, broke its own rules by seeing and ignoring violators of its own rules.
“Are you not aware that many of these motorbike operators are either fronting for some airport officials or they are either personnel of the Police, Army or Air Force and these elements know each other, do business together and share the booty as they deem fit.

“If indeed FAAN wants this to stop under 24hrs, all it needs do is call their usual security meeting and take a mandate ‘operation no okada'” he declared.

Also speaking, a member of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Olumide Ohunayo said milltary and airport workers who can defend why they are on the road are responsible for proliferation of motorcycles on the airport access road.

He, however, called for the opening of alternative road to access the local and international airport in Lagos

He said, “they serve as alternative mode of transportation for passengers late and who don’t want to miss their flight due to traffic on the airport corridor and that has made their patronage high and they are basically military officers or airport workers who have identity cards and can defend why they are on the road.

“However, this is not an issue FAAN can handle alone, they need to get Nigeria Airforce (NAF) along to see how they can curb the menace and they should open up another route for passengers to commute between international airports and local airports rather than going through the major road which is long overdue for expansion.
“There should be a mode of transportation that can take us from international terminal to local terminal that has always been on the table and FAAN should see what can be done about that,” he said.


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