Several commercial motorcycle operators were yesterday, seen moving out of Anambra State to other states apparently because of the banning of motorcycle riding in two major cities of the state, including Awka, the state capital and Onitsha, the commercial hub by the state government, which takes effect from July 1st.
One of them, who gave his name as Benjamin Idoko, from Kogi State, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that his only source of livelihood was commercial motorcycle riding, otherwise known as Okada, and that since the state government had banned motorcycle riding, he had no need of remaining in the state.
Asked where he was heading to, he replied, “I must tell you the truth, I don’t have any particular place in mind where I am going to now as you see me. But I told myself that it is better I move out now from Awka before police people seize this my Okada.”
It has been noticed that several male youths have been moving out of the state with their personal belongings, including mattresses, bags, etc tied on the back of the motorcycle since two days now.
The state government had, few weeks ago, announced ban on motorcycle riding in Awka and Onitsha and said that the enforcement of the ban would commence today.
A senior officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state confided in LEADERSHIP Sunday that the state government has mobilised the men of the state command of the corps and police to enforce the motorcycle riding ban beginning from 8pm, yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State government, has stated that the ban on motorcycle riding also affects the army, police and para-military personnel.
The state commissioner for transport, Mr Uchenna Okafor, who stated this said, “The ban on motorcycle operators is total. There will be no exceptions. We’ve 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.
“We are not exempting anybody. It’s total and comprehensive. By July 1, no Okada will be seen on any road in Awka and Onitsha areas. It’s total.”
Okafor said by the ban on motorcycle operators in the state, over “1000 thieves” would lose their jobs.
He said, “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 1000 of these will leave the state because they have lost their jobs.”
He said the governor had ordered no fewer than 1000 shuttle buses from Japan to cushion the effect of the ban on “genuine motorcycle operators” in Awka and Onitsha areas of the state.
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