By Abdulwahab Abdulah
As the ban placed on operations of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called Okada bites harder in Lagos, a Yoruba group, O’odua Nationalist Coalition, ONAC, has called for a five-year long term plan to completely phase out Okada as a means of transportation in the South West states.
At a press conference organised by the group made up of 26 social and cultural formations in Lagos, they argued that the disadvantages associated with the usage of Okada as means of transportation and economic survival outweigh its advantages.
Mr Olalekan Agbana, who spoke on behalf of the group, blamed the menace of Okada in Nigeria, especially in the South West, on the years of miltary rule and the resulting suffering it brought on the people.
Agbana noted that this has resulted into a serious mass immigration into the cities, especially Lagos, resulting to threat to the environment, the people and their properties.
He disclosed: ”We have been reliably informed that some fundamentalists raise their funds from Okada riders. You will recollect that Boko Haram recently said it has 2000 fighters in Lagos. Where are the fighters, where do they live and which job do they do?
”With over 500,000 migrants armed with knives and daggers, what is the future of the people of Lagos, if suddenly there is a major ethnic strife in an increasingly fragile state like ours?”
Apart from this, ONAC said the increasing number of Okada on the streets has reduced the number of artisans and increased the number of school drop-outs.
It, therefore, appealed to Okada riders, in their interest and that of the people, to support government initiatives and diversify their business.
The group also called on the South West states to seek the cooperation of the Federal Government in dealing with the “reckless chains of illegal migration into Nigeria from troubled zones in the Horn of Africa to the Southern Nigerian states, considering the serious implications on security”.