Okada ban: Army, police barred from riding motorcycles in Awka, Onitsha

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 1 July 2018 | 2,594 times

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•Commercial motorcycle riders

Apart from the regular commercial motorcycle riders operating in Awka and Onitsha areas, the Anambra State Government on Saturday said army and police personnel in the state are also barred from using motorcycles within the two areas in question.

The ban takes effect from today, Sunday, July 1, 2018.

Disclosing the information to journalists in Awka, the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Uchenna Okafor, said the ban on motorcycle operators is absolute.

He said that there will be no exceptions, adding that they have met with the police and army authorities, and made it clear that their personnel won't be allowed to ride motorcycles in the areas affected by the ban.

He said: “We are not exempting anybody. It’s total and comprehensive. By July 1, no Okada will be seen in any road in Awka and Onitsha areas. It’s total.

Okafor said by the ban on motorcycle operators in the state over “1,000 thieves” would lose their jobs.

“It is not in doubt that some of these Okada operators are criminals. They are the people snatching bags from women and students. With this ban, over 1,000 of these criminals will leave the state because they have lost their jobs.”

According to him, the governor had ordered no fewer than 1,000 shuttle buses from Japan to cushion the effect of the ban on “genuine motorcycle operators” in Awka and Onitsha areas of the state.

While stating that the buses were being expected in the state soon, he explained that the buses were ordered from Japan at the cost of about N700,000 each.

Okafor added: “The disbursement of the buses would be handled by the Anambra Small Business Agency and many commercial motorcycle operators have been visiting the headquarters of ASBA in Awka to obtain information on the modalities for the acquisition of the buses.”

He said the beneficiaries would be given interest-free loans with which to purchase the buses, adding that the only condition to obtain the loan would be the provision of credible guarantors and attestations.

The commissioner debunked the story going the rounds that only Anambra indigenes would benefit from the loan, stressing: “The Okada loan scheme is for everybody; indigenes and non-indigenes.”

He said the ban would cover Onitsha and its environs, including Nkpor and Okpoko, while in Awka it would cover Amawbia, Nibo, Nise and Okpuno areas.

While residents await the ban, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra has said they would embark on hunger strike should the state government go ahead with the ban.

The Awka South Regional Leader, Arinze Igbani, who made the statement at a press briefing in Awka faulted government’s arrangements to cushion the effects of the ban on the operators, describing it as elitist.

He wondered whether their reward for supporting Governor Willie Obiano’s second term in office was to take away their source of livelihood.

He said: “MASSOB members as the founders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance made Obiano governor.

“How can government just wake up and announce such harsh policy without any clear-cut direction on how to integrate those who would be affected by such policies?”

He observed that the government has through the ban created room for the escalation of crime in the state saying that they failed to consider the fact that Okada riders contributed in no small measure contributed to the increased revenue profile of the state.

Source: News Express

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