By Shina Abubakar – Osogbo
Osun State Government has given commercial motorcyclists popularly referred to as Okada two weeks ultimatum to register their members or risk suspension of their operations.
This is as the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola disclosed that commercial motorcycles can only operate between 6 am to 8 pm henceforth.
He disclosed this while holding a meeting with the leadership of Commercial Motorcycle Operators in the State on Tuesday evening.
A statement signed by the Governor’s media aide, Ismail Omipidan stated that Oyetola expressed his shock and displeasure at the way motorcycle operators allowed themselves to be used to cause unprecedented damage around the State in the last few days.
The state government want them to “document their members, register their bikes, issue them tags and reflective jackets with bold prints behind showing the different areas and units of operation” or risk suspension of their operations.
Omipidan disclosed that the decision was part of efforts to firm up security in the State following the recent looting and vandalisation of government and private property as well as general disruption of peace across the State.
While addressing the representatives of the association, Oyetola said, “Security reports revealed that your members played major roles in the destabilisation and breakdown of law and order that necessitated the declaration of curfew in the State.
“Your members were the ones who ferried looters from house to house to perpetrate evil. They were the ones who were paid to transport hoodlums to destroy people’s businesses.
“I can also confirm to you that even the attempt on my life was aided by some of your members, who after our escape from the mob, gave my convoy a long chase and attempted to block our movement at different points.
“We also have security reports that some of your members are involved in all forms of illicit activities like robbery, kidnapping, and ritual killings.
“Considering all these, the government cannot pretend that all is well because the primary duty of government is to ensure the security of life and property of its citizens.
“That is why we are mandating all the various associations of commercial motorcycle operators in the state to document their members, register their bikes, issue them tags and reflective jackets with bold prints behind showing the different areas and units of operation.
“This exercise is expected to be concluded within two weeks from the time of this meeting. The time has come to separate the wheat from the chaff and as leaders of the associations, please ensure this is done.
“Otherwise, government will have no option but to suspend okada operations in the State”, he said.
However, the governor was quick to add that “the government is aware that okada business is a source of livelihood to many and not all of you are criminals, but the events of the past few days have shown that the criminal elements among you have become a threat to the peace of Osun.
“I also appeal to you as leaders of the associations to advise your members to desist from allowing themselves to be used for criminal activities”, Oyetola concluded.
In their responses, the representatives of the various associations of commercial motorcycles in the state took turns to apologise to the Governor for the role some of their members played in causing devastations across the state and promised to comply with the directives of the State Government.