With few days to the July 1 ban of motorcycle operation in the capital city of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, in Anambra State, traders in Nnewi who deal in fairly used and new motorcycle spare parts have appealed to the state Governor, Willie Obiano, to revoke the decision.
Addressing journalists on the issue, the President of Fairly Used Motorcycles Dealers Association in Nnewi, Mr Eloka Ubajiekwu, observed that there will be an outbreak of diseases, hunger, and even death of many residents as a result of the ban.
He called on the governor to fashion out ways of fighting crime emanating from Okada riders in Awka and Onitsha instead of outright ban, saying that the country’s economy is not in the best of state for people to lose their source of livelihood.
According to him, some criminals, apart from using Okada to rob people at gunpoint, also use cabs, buses and Sport utility vehicles to rob people.
While dismissing the outright ban as a solution, Ubajiekwu said: “A lot of people are fending for themselves and their families with Okada operation.
“Criminals don’t use only Okada to rob, they also use Sport Utility Vehicles, taxi cabs and buses to rob people at gunpoint but nobody has ever thought of banning such vehicles”.
“A lot of people are fending for themselves and their families with Okada. An Okada rider is taking care of a minimum of five to seven persons daily, feeding them and paying children school fees.
“Motorcycle traders are earning their living from the business, likewise mechanics, vulcanizers and allied workers. By banning Okada transport, they are all in a big trouble because they have lost their jobs.
“Onitsha and Awka and other places in Anambra are quite different from Owerri, Benin and Enugu where such bans had been effected because the people of those states are not major dealers in motorcycles.
“We can comfortably say that there are no well-known motorcycle dealers in those places, but here in Nnewi, we are too many to mention and even though the Okada ban was not extended to Nnewi, it will affect us badly because Onitsha and Awka are our major base.”
On his part, the Secretary of New Auto Spare Parts Association, Uche Ezechukwu, regretted that over 20,000 people would lose their source of livelihood if the ban is not upturned.