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July 25, 2022

Banning Okada will push millions of riders into poverty – Association 

The plan by the Federal Government to enforce a nationwide ban on commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada could render millions of riders jobless and poor. 

The President, the National Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria, Usman Gwoza, said this on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria programme which was monitored by our correspondent on Monday. 

Gwoza argued that the high unemployment rate in the country was what made many go into the business. 

He added that members of the National Assembly channelled a large portion of their constituency projects to empower their constituents with motorcycles. Gwoza maintained that if gifting constituents with motorcycles amounted to empowerment, seizing these same motorcycles would be a form of disempowerment. 

The association’s President argued that banning Okada because of the activities of a few bandits would amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water. 

He said with the poverty rate at an all-time high, Okada had become the saving grace for not just millions of riders but their families and dependents. 

He added, “We have over 14 million riders. And we are all Nigerians. Those operating are over 20 million but those registered with us are over 14 million people… If you ban people from what they rely on for daily bread, are you increasing crime or reducing it? 

“Okada has become the main tool of employment by lawmakers. Now this disempowerment will worsen crime. If you ban 14 million people, what alternative are you making for them? None,” he said. He added that rather than ban Okada’s, the Association would rather work in parallel with government and the security agencies to secure the lives of Nigerians.