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The National Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria has faulted the federal government’s plan to ban operation of commercial motorcycles popularly known as okada riding across the country.
Speaking on a programme on Monday on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), the President of the association, Usman Gwoza, said that if the Federal Government goes ahead to enforce the nationwide ban on commercial motorcycles, it will render millions of riders jobless and poor.
File photo used to illustrate story
According to Gwoza, the high unemployment rate in the country made many go into the business.
Gwoza further noted that many members of the National Assembly channelled a large portion of their constituency projects to empowering their constituents with motorcycles, thereby increasing the number of okada riders in the country.
He maintained that if gifting constituents with motorcycles amounted to empowerment, seizing these same motorcycles would be a form of disempowerment.
Gwoza further argued that banning Okada because of the activities of a few bandits would amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water.
According to the association’s president, the poverty rate is at an all-time high and Okada has become the saving grace for not just millions of riders but their families and dependents.
“We have over 14 million riders. And we are all Nigerians. Those operating are over 20 million but those registered with us are over 14 million people. If you ban people from what they rely on for daily bread, are you increasing crime or reducing it?” he questioned.
Speaking further, he said that “Okada has become the main tool of employment by lawmakers. Now this disempowerment will worsen crime. If you ban 14 million people, what alternative are you making for them? None.”
He added that rather than ban Okada’s, the Association would rather work in parallel with the government and the security agencies to secure the lives of Nigerians.
SaharaReporters, New York
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