By Anayo Okoli
BARELY 48 hours after deposing two traditional rulers for allegedly aiding and abetting kidnapping in the state, Abia state Government has banned motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada from operating in certain areas of the state.
The ban takes effect from Monday,June, 29, 2009, even as the government has warned that it would deal ruthlessly with anybody that flouts the ban. The government said that it has discovered that kidnappers and armed robbers use Okada to carry out their crimes and escape easily.
Governor Theodore Orji had called a meeting of the leaders of okada operators where he warned that he would ban them if their members continued to be involved in crimes in the state. Despite the warning, cases of kidnapping and robbery recorded thereafter were said to have involved okada operators, hence the governmentâ€™s decision.
They are therefore restricted from operating in the following areas; Aba Metropolis,Umuahia Metropolis, Obingwa Local Government Area,Ugwunagbo Local Government Area, Isialangwa North Local Government Area, Isialangwa South Local Government Area, Osisioma Local Government Area, Ukwa East Local Government Area and, Ukwa West Local Government Area. These areas incidentally are the kidnapping hot zones.
â€The Abia State Government has observed with dismay that most of the incidences of kidnapping and armed robbery perpetrated in the state are carried out with the use of Motorcycles which aid the criminals to escape easily after carrying out their nefarious activities.
â€This ugly development has persisted despite several meetings government has held with commercial motorcycle operators to sanitize their operations and find a way to weed out bad elements in their midst.
â€Consequently, in carrying out its statutory responsibility of safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizenry, the Abia State Government, after due consultation with all relevant stakeholders, has decided to limit the operations of motorcyclists to the rural areas of the State.
â€With effect from Monday, June 29, 2009, all motorcyclists are prohibited from operating within the following areas.
â€This measure will subsist until an appreciable improvement is noticed, in the security situation in the state.
â€Government wishes to reassure Abians who may be affected negatively by this policy that it was done in the interest of the safety and security of all Abians and was not intended to bring hardship on any section of the populace.
â€Individuals and organizations are requested to seek ways of investing in the transportation sector to complement governmentâ€™s effort in the sector and assist in ameliorating the effects of the measure.
â€Security agencies have been authorized to confiscate any motorcycle found to be contravening this directive once it comes into effect.
â€All concerned are requested to take note of this directive and ensure full complianceâ€, governmentâ€™s statement signed by Sam Hart said, while announcing the ban.