BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI— MOTORCYCLE operators popularly known as Okada are now to face three months imprisonment or pay a fine of N20,000, if caught plying dual carriage way within the state capital, Abakaliki.
Governor Martin Elechi of EbonyiState who signed the Use and Operations of Motorcycles in EbonyiState and Related Matters Law Amendment Bill into law at the Government House, Abakaliki said the law provided stiffer penalties for commercial motorcyclists in the state.
The bill was passed by the State House of Assembly on May 22, 2013 and further prescribed that owners of impounded motorcycles shall forfeit them, if they fail to claim them within a period of 30 days. It also empowered the state government to auction the impounded motorcycles.
According to the law, “any person who contravenes the provisions of section 6 of this law is guilty of an offence and liable to three months imprisonment or a fine of N20 000.
“Any person whose motorcycles is impounded pursuant to the operations of this law and who fails or neglects to claim the same within a period of 30 days from the date of impoundment shall forfeit the motorcycle to the state government.”
Elechi said the original law was passed because criminal activities such as kidnapping and bank robbery were being perpetuated in the city with impunity with the aid of the motorcycles.
He said: “People are calling for outright ban of Okada but when they (House of Assembly) make laws, they consider the plight of the masses knowing that taxi cars and buses are not readily available to the poor people, if not they would have banned it out rightly.”