David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Chairman of Motorcycle Transport Union (MUTN), Nnewi branch, Chief Benneth Nwosu, has said the proposed ban on motorcycles popularly called ‘Okada,’ in Nnewi, Anambra State, by the government would fail.
Anambra State government had banned commercial motorcycle in Onitsha and Awka, due to allegations that bag snatchers in the area reportedly use high capacity motorcycles in their operations.
However, there has been a fresh call by some residents of Nnewi community for Governor Willie Obiano to extend the Okada ban to Nnewi for security reasons, which they said had been aggravated by the influx of criminals in the guise of okada operators.
But, Nwosu absolved his members of any complicity in bag snatching, stressing that all Okada riders in the record of his union, had their names in official files kept at the union’s office in Nnewi, in addition to identity cards issued to every registered member.
He noted that a hoodlum could use a high capacity motorcycle to rob but it would not translate to tagging the hoodlum an Okada rider. He explained that the union had been using its task force to checkmate the infiltration of non-registered Okada operators.
He, however, blamed the state government for its inability to fulfil a promise made to provide special vests to Okada operators in the industrial community and, perhaps, elsewhere for easy and proper identification of genuine commercial motorcyclists.
Nwosu said it would be suicidal to contemplate Okada ban in Nnewi, which is the home of motorcycle business in West Africa.
He noted that for such a policy to survive, government needed to provide alternative business line for numerous motorcycles and spare parts importers, vulcanisers, food vendors and a whole lot of others who depend on motorcycle business for survival, at Nkwo, Nnewi.