Akwa Ibom state has outlawed the operation of commercial motorcycles within Eket metropolis following reports of rape cases and other heinous crimes being perpetrated by hoodlums disguised as commercial motorcyclists.
The state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who pronounced the ban in his remarks at the 4th-anniversary celebration of his wife’s Pet project “Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Programme (FEYReP), held yesterday in Uyo, decried the alarming rate of rape in the state and country at large in recent times
Emmanuel who condemned a situation where hoodlums now disguise as commercial motorcyclists to rob, murder unsuspecting members of the public, kidnap, rape young women, frowned at the protest by motorcyclists on Tuesday in Uyo.
He stressed, “I’m banning motorcycle operations from today in Eket becuase the bulk of the crimes are traced to those people, so why are they protesting? Sometimes you think they are doing the right thing when actually it is the wrong thing they do.
“A lot of what Her Excellency talked about rape cases are traced to motorcycle riders. They carry those young ladies and drive them to unknown destinations, sometimes to a bush track where they molest them.
“We have apprehended one of them and I’ve, spoken to the Local Government Chairman to ensure that he is prosecuted in the law court”
The governor recounted a chilling story of how a young and innocent lady who was taken to one of the hideouts and gang-raped, had cried out to passersby for help but they(passersby) failed to rescue her.
He announced that three out of four rapists were eventually apprehended and would be made to face the wrath of the law.
“A lady was raped here in Uyo, she cried for help but neighbors did not assist her, they did not even report the incidence to the police. Rather what they did was to tell their female children to avoid the man and stop moving along that street.
“What baffles me is that people watch them do this without reporting them to the police or raise the alarm. You needed to see one of the men involved, a heavily bearded man with two children.
“They are four in that cartel. We’ve arrested three and I told the Commissioner of Police to arrest the fourth person and ensure that they are prosecuted. I don’t mind petitioning the Nigeria Judicial Council to ensure that justice is served”, he explained.
He advised the residents to always alert the police and other law enforcement agencies when they are in dangerous situations or see another’s life in danger.
He warned that that restriction on operation of commercial motorcycles in some part of Uyo the state capital was still in force, stressing and urged motorcyclists to cooperate with security agents enforcing the order by limiting their operation to the restricted areas.
“We can’t run a lawless society. If you have a brother who is a commercial motorcyclist, tell him we’ve marked areas they should operate to enable us carry out surveillance of the area because we have to maintain security and peace in this state and we will not compromise for any reason”, the Governor warned.
Presenting a keynote address at the event, the Company Secretary of MTN Nigeria, Mrs Uto Ukpanah described FEYReP as a child of necessity which has warmed the heart of the vulnerable members of the society by bringing succour to the hopeless in the society.
Also in her goodwill message, one time Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Comfort Ekpo, commended the facilitator, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel for her passion in uplifting the downtrodden, and wished the first Lady success in her humanitarian services.