By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
The Chairman of the Kogi State chapter of Okada Riders Association, Mallam Baba Aliyu Musa has appealed to the Federal Government to review its proposed ban on commercial motorcycle operation.
Musa made the appeal at a news conference in Lokoja on Friday.
The National Security Council last week proposed a nationwide ban on commercial motorcycle operation.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed the council’s plan linked it to the fight against terrorism.
According to Musa, the proposed ban on commercial motorcycles will create more problems because they also serve as means of transportation for the people.
“The council is proposing to put an end to the means of mobility and source of livelihood of 40 million Nigerians.
“This will have a negative effect because motorcycles are means of commercial transportation that has provided the needed jobs for millions of Nigerian citizens,
“Some of these riders are graduates of higher institutions who would have been an added weight on an already over-blown unemployed sector of the country.
“Commuters see motorcycles as a relief to traffic and other transportation problems while riders see it as a source of livelihood,” he said.
The Okada chairman said that without doubt, motorcycles had enhanced mobility for the middle income earners and also contributed to increase in productivity through increase in man-hours.
“It has also improved accessibility, employment opportunities and job insecurity thereby, reducing poverty through improved income and a boost economic growth.” Mus said.
He further said that members of the association were law abiding citizens who believed there was dignity in labour.
“We struggle every day to provide for our families and also ensure we don’t do anything that will contravene the law of the land.
“We ensure we pay our tax daily to the government in form of tickets and levies and never fail to comply with safety directory.
“We want to put it on record that 95 per cent of those riding motorcycles are doing it because they don’t have any better option and they are unwilling to resort to crime,” he said.
He, however, reiterated the association’s promised to support the state and Federal Governments in bringing to book anyone or group that intended to jeopardise its efforts.
“We, therefore, appeal to the government to carefully think through the proposed action which will subject severe hardship on the masses.
“We also appeal passionately to the government to take holistic view of the problem concerning the ban and call for a parley with all the stakeholders to proffer solutions,” he added.