The chairman of Awka South Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, Kingsley Nworah has disclosed that over 10,000 youths would be out of job in Anambra State as a result of the recent proscription of commercial motorcycle operators in Awka, the state capital.
DAILY POST also learnt that over 15,000 persons will also lose their jobs in Onitsha, the commercial hub of the state, over the ban.
The state government had, on Tuesday, issued a quit notice to commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders, in the two major cities of the state.
The government, in a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Chief James Eze, said the ban will take effect from 1st July, explaining that the long notice was to enable the operators to change to another trade or vacate the cities for good.
According to the statement, this was part of the many resolutions from the meeting of the State Executive Council, and was part of the overall strategy adopted by the government to deepen its crackdown on crimes and restore sanity to Onitsha and Awka.
But speaking with newsmen in Awka on Wednesday, the chairman of South Zonal leader, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, Kingsley Nworah, expressed displeasure over the government’s decision, saying they were taken unawares by the planned ban.
He said the association had over 10,000 members in Awka, lamenting that most of them would be thrown out of business if the government implemented the decision.
According to him, many of them are the bread winners of their families and wondered what would become the fate of their wives and children if they were out of job.
“We are not less than 10,000 members just in Awka alone and our families depend on many of us for their upkeep.
“Many of us are into monthly contributions. Some acquired their motorcycles through the contributions, while some are waiting for their turns. Tell me what becomes their fate?” he queried.
Nworah, who admitted that certain criminal activities were perpetrated with the assistance of motorcycles, however maintained that an outright ban of commercial motorcycle operation was not the solution.
“Is it only Okada that is used to commit crimes? Haven’t they seen where cars, especially jeep were used in robbery operations? Will they now ban use of cars because of that?” he argued.
“Besides, we have always cautioned our members against getting involved in criminal activities, while we penalize the erring ones as a deterrent for others,” he said.
He enumerated the benefits of the union to the state to include payment of revenue to the government, saying that the union’s monthly contributions to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state is not less than a million, adding that they have never been indebted to that commitment.
“During the campaign period of the last governorship election, the governor promised that he will not ban Okada in the state and to reciprocate the gesture, we encouraged our members to vote and they voted massively for him,” he said.
Nworah appealed to the governor to reconsider his decision, or better still extend the deadline till December in order for them to find alternative businesses.