By Jovitta Iorshase
The National President, National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NACTOMORAS), Alh. Muhammadu Hassan has said over 14 million commercial motorcycle riders (okada) in Nigeria will be rendered jobless if the Federal Government goes on with the proposed nationwide ban on use of motorcycle.
He disclosed this recently during an interactive session on Radio Nigeria, monitored by The Voice, while reacting on the issues leading to the proposed ban.
Alh. Hassan maintained that though, some of the issues mentioned such as reckless riding, negligence to traffic rules, mode of aiding and abetting criminal activities etc were found among some okada riders, it remains a steady source of income to many bread winners, including himself.
“As the president, commercial motorcycling is what I do to feed and train my children. Most youths are involved in the business not because they love it but as a means of survival in a country like Nigeria.
“Some members of this union include even degree and masters degree holders, who have not been able to get the government jobs after graduation, hence the need for government to reconsider its stand on the matter,” he stated.
He advised that rather than ban okada and risk adding to the existing large number of unemployed youths, who may take to crime afterwards, the federal government and the association should work out modalities to regularly check its activities, in order to prevent criminal involvement.
Speaking on the matter, the Chairman of Benue Motorcyclists Association (BEMOA), Comrade Matthew Nyiutsa told The Voice that, it is unfortunate that the federal government would just make a declaration without first of all analysing the peculiar aspects to individual states because of the Kuje Prison break in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He made this known on Thursday in a phone interview, explaining that, the ban would be insensitive on the part of the government as it would be unfair to ban okada nationwide because of the criminal activities of some persons which could have been handled by security agents.
Mr Nyiutsa explained that even though the state government has not yet called the union on the matter, it was wrong as not only the riders in the state would be left jobless, and without food for their families, but also, mechanics, spare parts dealers and the masses will suffer. He informed that a press briefing was slated for Friday to educate BEMOA members on the matter.
“It is funny that the federal government could count 1 to 300 motorcycles that were involved in the attack at Kuje but could not arrest them. However, we shall continue to sensitize our members on the dangers of reckless riding among others. It is a problem of individual attitude, because every end of year we organize seminars with Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) as a way of educating riders,” he stated.
Agreeing that though, some of the allegations were true, Mr Nyiutsa lamented that some of these criminals most times attack the riders, kill them and collect the motorcycles and use it in committing the terrible crimes labelled on the motorcycle riders.
He called on the government, stakeholders and security agencies to build a synergy with the union to provide better services to the people.