Okada Ban: July 1 Deadline Too Sudden To Us – Okada Operators Beg Obiano
By Nedum Noble
Commercial motorcyclists in Anambra State have appealed to the Anambra State government to reconsider its decision on the ban on their operation in Onitsha and Awka cities of the state.
They said they were taken unawares by the decision, adding that July 1, 2018, was too sudden for them to explore alternative businesses.
The State government, had on Tuesday, issued a quit notice to commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders in the two major cities of the State, to change to another trade or vacate the cities for good.
A statement, signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the State government, Chief James Eze, said the directive, which was one of the many resolutions from the meeting of the State Executive Council, was part of the overall strategy adopted by the government to deepen its crackdown on crime and restore sanity to Onitsha and Awka.
Addressing newsmen in his office in Awka, the Awka South Zonal leader, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, Kingsley Nworah, said the association had over 10,000 members, in Awka and Onitsha alone, lamenting that most of them would be thrown out of business if the government implemented its decision.
He said many of them assumed the position of bread winners in their families and wondered what would become the fate of their wives and children if they were relieved of their jobs.
“We are not less than 10,000 members, just in Onitsha and Onitsha alone and our families depend on many of us for their upkeep.
“Many of us are into monthly contributions. Some acquired their motorcycles through the contributions, while some are waiting for their turns. Tell me what becomes their fate?” he decried.
Nworah who admitted that certain criminals activities were perpetrated with the assistance of motorcycles, however maintained that outright ban of commercial motorcycle operation was not the solution.
“Is it only okada that is used to commit crimes? Haven’t they seen where cars, especially jeep were used in robbery operations? Will they now ban use of cars because of that?
“Besides, we have always cautioned our members against getting involved in criminal activities, while we penalize the erring ones as a deterrent for others,” he said.
Enumerating the benefits of the union to the state, Nworah disclosed that the union’s monthly contributions to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state is not less than a million, adding that they had never been indepted to that commitment.
“During the campaign period of the last governorship election, the governor promised that he will not ban okada in the state and to reciprocate the gesture, we encouraged our members to vote and they voted massively for him,” he said.
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