It was a pathetic situation yesterday when operators of commercial motorcycles openly shed uncontrolled tears, standing helplessly to watch their 356 impounded bikes being crushed to rubbles by a bulldozer at Area 1 in Abuja.
It could be recalled that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has not only pronounced a total ban on commercial motorcycle operations, but the administration also restricted them from operating in some districts of the territory.
With the constant violation of the restriction order, the FCTA task force supported by combined military and paramilitary squads decided on Wednesday to embark on a massive raid around Guzape, Durumi districts, Airport road-Lugbe and Kubwa district where over 356 motorcycles were impounded.
The senior special assistant to FCT minister on monitoring, inspection, and enforcement, Ikharo Attah said the worst situation that the minister is worried about, is the flagrant attitude of these operators to abuse traffic rules and incessantly driving on the wrong lanes.
He said the administration only allowed them to operate in interior villages and estates, but they have continued to violate the restrictions with arrogance and incessant violent attacks on enforcement officers.
According to him, the new policy of impounding the bikes and immediately crushing them was a signature project initiated to serve as a deterrent and also eliminate the crowd that always besieges the office of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services ( DRTs) to beg for the release of the bikes.
Attah disclosed that FCT minister has given a marching order that the bikes should be impounded and crushed immediately, and this may not be unconnected with reports of Okada riders attacking people and also committing serial crimes in the city.
“This operation is a signature project and a decision of the FCTA Security Committee, they agreed that we should go back to massive enforcement of the ban on commercial motorcycles in the Federal Capital City as well as some strategic locations, like the airport road and Kubwa where they have become a big threat to the people.”
“We have brought the 356 motorcycles here in Area 1 for immediate crushing because the menace cannot continue. We have gotten complaints daily about Okada riders across the city.
“The operation cannot be said to be high-handedness because, since 2006 when the ban started, the impounded bikes hardly get back to them. The minister has given us a marching order to impound and crush in the full glare of everybody to avoid the allegation that the bikes were seized and given to somebody else,” he said.
Attah further said that the Okada riders have been asked to leave the Federal Capital City (FCC) because they are wreaking havoc, committing crimes, and killing people.
“Last week in Durumi personnel in uniform were stabbed and killed, another officer was also stabbed on the head by these same characters, the Okada riders. We have gotten forfeiture orders for all of these,” he added.
Also, the mandate secretary of the FCTA Transport Secretariat, Abdullahi Candido noted that if the commercial motorcyclists continue to defy all government’s entreaties to them, by allowing them to operate within designated routes, they will continue to suffer losses. Candido also disclosed that the secretariat will never succumb to pressure from any quarters to allow illegalities in the nation’s capital.