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Okada ban: Fares, cost of bicycles soar in Edo

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…Ban is Oshiomhole’s most painful decision —ODUBU
BENIN—FOLLOWING the ban on commercial motorcycles, commonly called okada by the Edo State Government in Egor, Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Areas, which make up the Benin metropolis, transport fares have hit the roof top.

Investigation carried out by Vanguard, indicated that some residents of the state capital, who are apparently weary of long treks arising from not finding alternative means of transportion as a result of the ban, have resorted to buying bicycles to ease their transportation problem.

Meantime, the state deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu, yesterday, said that banning Okada  was the most painful decision of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, so far in government.

He said: “It was a painful decision for the governor. The clamour has been on for some time, but with recent happenings in some other states of the federation, where Okada was banned, the effect is now being felt in Edo State as the influx of those persons now into Edo State  has increased crime.”

Odubu, who explained that the governor had to take the decision in order to safeguard the lives and property of the citizens,  assured that the palliatives being offered by government in collaboration with the leadership of the Okada union, would ameliorate the pains of genuine Okada operators.

Meanwhile, on the hardship occasioned by the ban, a bicycle dealer in Benin, Miss Amaka Ogburie, confirmed while speaking in an interview that sales recorded since the ban last week, was more than the entire sales recordedin past five years.

Following the increased patronage, she said the price of Hero Ranger Max brand of bicycle which hitherto sold for N14,000, now sells for N16,000; Hero Ladies, which sold for N14,000, now N17,000, while the Hero D.Curve which sold for N15,000, now sells for N17,000.

According to Mr. Ambrose Nwanchimereze, a trader, the cost of assembling a new bicycle is now  between N1,500 and N2,000 compared to the old price of N1,000.

Edo State Chairman of Bicycles Sellers Association, Mr. Friday Ubebe, on his part said the ban has increased their sales, including spare parts.

Reacting to the ban on Okada, Mr. Samuel Ese, who had to purchase a bicycle, said that he decided to buy a bicycle, explaining that his place of work was far away from where he lives, noting that they have had no alternative means of transportation.

He expressed fears that the ban might lead to rise in criminal activities in the state, as many people have lost their means of livelihood.

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