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Commuters Cry Out Over Okada Ban

Posted by By Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt on 2009/01/07 | Views: 342 |

Commuters Cry Out Over Okada Ban


Thousands of commuters, yesterday and today, came face-to-face with the grim reality of Rivers state government’s ban on commercial motorbikes (okada) in Port Harcourt and three other contiguous local government areas of Eleme, Oyigbo and Obio-Akpor, since 1 January, 2009.

Thousands of commuters, yesterday and today, came face-to-face with the grim reality of Rivers state government’s ban on commercial motorbikes (okada) in Port Harcourt and three other contiguous local government areas of Eleme, Oyigbo and Obio-Akpor, since 1 January, 2009.

While some were forced to pay through their noses to get to their destinations, others had to trek long distances in the absence of the commercial motorcyclists. They call on governor Chibuike Amaechi to reverse the ban.

Commuters are now confronted with the stark reality of trekking long distances, especially in the areas not easily accessible by the negligible number of taxi cabs. As anticipated, it has been complaints galore by traumatised residents who are now forced to trek long distances or wait for non-existing taxis and buses.

Comrade Marvin Yobana, the National Vice President, National Youth Movement of Nigeria, has described the ban on okada, without well laid out plans to cushion the effect on commuters, as “most insensitive of the state government to the suffering of the people, because majority of the roads in Port Harcourt are not accessible by taxis and buses.”

Yobana argued that if the banning of okada operation in the aforementioned local government areas was because some riders were using it for criminal activities when there is a state law that regulates its operation, the state government or the law enforcement agencies should be held responsible for their inability to enforce the law.

He expressed pessimism that if the overall effect is to check crime, the state government will inadvertently be creating an army of criminals, as there are no alternative means of livelihood for thousands of youths formerly in the okada business.

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