Okada Ban: Operators threaten showdown with ATMA officials
– We’ll conduct biometrics on them soon
Commercial motorcyclists otherwise known as Okada riders on Monday threatened to join forces against officials of Anambra State Traffic Maintenance Agency, ATMA over the impounding of motorbikes belonging to their members.
The Okada riders according to some of them who spoke to our correspondent were at Kwata junction by Enugu-Onitsha Expressway waiting for passengers when ATMA officials arrived and impounded their motorcycles on the premise that they were waiting for passengers so they can ply the express.
It would be recalled that the state government had last two weeks announced a ban on the plying of some roads in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha.
In Awka, the roads include; Ziks Avenue, Arthur Eze Avenue and the Enugu-Onitsha Express way.
An Okada operator, Nnaemeka Obasi said they were only at Kwata, waiting for passengers who want to go into Awka, so that they can take them through the roads where they have been slated to ply, but they were surprised that ATMA officials still came and impounded their motorcycles.
The Operators who had serious confrontation with the officials latter formed a protest group, and even rejected being addressed by the commissioner for transport, Ifeanyi Ejikeme.
The chairman of Motorcycles Transport Union of Nigeria, Anambra State chapter, Mr Jude Udegbe said the state government did not consult stakeholders before making the policy, and believes that it is not well thought out.
Udegbe said Awka was badly planned, and stopping operations in a road like Arthur Eze avenue that has no adjoining roads was not fair. He also feared that the policy may have been done to favour some transport mogul that intends to bring out taxis to ply the restricted routes.
Commissioner for Transport, Ejikeme while reacting said that it was not true that the policy was done to pave way for anyone. He said the government has good packages for the operators to ameliorate the hardship that the ban may cause, but feared that the people have remained unruly.
“I refused to address them during their protest. Did you not see how they were behaving? Most of their people are not even from Anambra State, yet they come here and cause trouble. We will conduct a biometric registration on them very soon.”