…Criminals now use motorcycle to terrorise our people —Oshiomhole
BEIN CITY—THOUSANDS of commercial motorcycle riders, commonly called Okada, Thursday, protested in Benin, Edo State for several hours, over the ban of Okada in the three local government areas of Egor, Oredo and Ikpoba Okhai by the Edo State Government.
Also, the government has identified some houses used by suspected kidnappers as hideout and vowed to demolish them in the next few days. The state governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, shortly after the State Security Council meeting in Benin, said it was now increasingly evident that Edo State was gradually becoming a safe haven for all manner of Okada riders, alleging that many of them are criminals.
However, the protest paralysed commercial activities in major areas such as the GRA, Ringroad, Akpakpava, as the protesters urged the state government to reverse its decision in the interest of those who resorted to Okada due to lack of job.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole, who announced the ban, said: “In fact, there are confirmed Okada riders, who have been involved in kidnapping and other forms of violent crime, including robbery. We have tried our best as a government over the years to take steps to counsel Okada riders to observe certain codes, to watch out and ensure that criminals do not infiltrate their ranks and hide under commercial motorcycles to perpetrate crime. It is clear to me now that we have not been particularly successful. More and more Okada riders have been found to be involved in various acts of violent crime.
“Also, because of the influx of Okada riders, arising from the decision of some of our neighbouring states, where Okada operations had been prohibited, Edo State has become a safe haven for all manners of Okada riders and because they do not get enough patronage, some have resorted to crime, while posing to be motorcycle operators.
“I am convinced that we cannot continue like that. While I am very concerned about unemployment in the country, and in Edo State, we have our fair share of unemployment, I am convinced that the long term interest of job creation requires that you attract investors and investments to the state. It is a settled issue that investors will not be in a hurry to go to a state where the level of crime has risen beyond acceptable level.
“Everything considered, we have resolved as a government, effective from Monday next week, that Okada riders will not be allowed to operate in any part of Oredo, Ikpoba Okha and Egor Local Government Areas. These three councils constitute the heart of Benin City. Law enforcement agencies have been informed accordingly and directed to strictly enforce this law.”