Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Members of the Chief Raph Uwazurike led Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Biafran Independent Movement (BIM) have threatened to embark on a hunger strike over the July 1 deadline for the ban of commercial motorcycle transport (‘Okada’) in Onitsha and Awka.
MASSOB-BIM regional Leader, Awka South and Member, Biafran Elders-in-Council, Chief Arinze Igbani, said the Anambra state government should get ready to bury many of their members if the group makes good its threat.
Igbani said that despite the government’s announcement of welfare package for Okada operators in the state, the group’s investigation reveals that there are no concrete arrangements on ground to cushion the effects of such a ban while security forces have been deployed to deal with their members.
Chief Igbani reminded Governor Obiano that MASSOB-BIM founder Uwazurike personally came to Anambra State to lend his support for last year’s November 18 election at a time another pro-Biafra group had been making threats. He recalled that Uwazurike did that in honour of the great Ikemba Ojukwu and wondered whether the reward for the role Uwazurike played would be to render all MASSOB-BIM members useless by taking away their means of livelihood.
He described the members of MASSOB–BIM as those who laid the foundation for the APGA party, which Obiano has become the greatest beneficiary.
MASSOB-BIM Director of Transport for Awka North Region, Pastor Amata Afulukwe, said the bulk of their members who eke out a living from the motorcycle business have been put in a very tight corner.
He complained that the state government has not set out clear directions on how to integrate those who would be affected by the ban, appealing to Governor Obiano to rescind his decision.
Sunday Iloekwe, the zonal director of sanitation, said that the ban can lead to unimaginable crisis in Anambra if not properly handled. He said that government’s decision could lead to an escalation of crime in the state, reminding it of the contribution of Okada riders to the state’s revenue.