By Chigozie Chukwuleta
Anambra state government has come out with clarifications on the ban of commercial motorcycle in major cities of the state.
The state recently announced ban of commercial motorcycle in some cities including Nnewi which has raised dust considering the history of the commercial city and motorcycle.
In a statement signed by the state commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu and made available to the media the government said the recent development was only to restate that the ban already in place is still in force, explaining that it is not a new order.
The statement read;
“In view of the seeming confusion trailing government’s reiteration of the ban on commercial motorcycles (locally called “Okada”), it has become necessary to make the following clarification,
1. The banning of commercial motorcycles operation in Anambra State predates the current administration of Governor Soludo. What this government has simply done is to restate that the ban is still in force. Reasons the previous administration gave for the ban was to curb the increasing crime rates as it was easier for Okada, unlike cars, to meander through traffic go-slows and gridlocks, and escape. And this happens more in our bustling urban centres where unsuspecting shoppers, traders and some members of the public are swiftly dispossessed of their hand bags, wallets, phones, etc.
Secondly, commercial motorcyclists, in their frenzy to deliver the agreed sums of money to their owners, recklessly disregard traffic rules and shun the use of basic protective gear like the crash helmet.
Every government has a responsibility to protect lives and property, and what this administration only did was to remind Ndi Anambra that the ban on commercial motorcycles is still in force in our major cities but not the adjoining rural communities where commuter buses don’t ply.
2. The cities that are specifically affected by the ban are Awka and Onitsha. Nnewi is an exception because of the predominance of private motorcycle owners who personally ride to their offices, shops, schools, markets, etc. However, they should wear crash helmets to protect themselves in the event of an accident. It is important to stress that the wearing of helmet is not only applicable in Nnewi, but also other suburban areas where commercial motorcycles are not banned.
3. Companies whose businesses have to do with courier services, dispatch services and home deliveries must register with the Ministry of transport and have their riders properly kitted up with helmets.
4. Commercial motorcycles can operate in the suburban and rural areas. Plan is under way to enumerate and brand them to determine who is a genuine commercial motorcyclist.
5. There are confirmed reports that some Policemen have indiscriminately been arresting riders and impounding their Okada. Police should concentrate their efforts on the two major urban areas affected by the ban and ensure that others that are not banned wear their helmets.