The Anambra State Government has barred army and police officers from using motorcycles, as a way of checking any form of abuse on the ban on commercial motorcyclists, which takes effect from Sunday.
The state Commissioner for Transport, Mr Uchenna Okafor, who disclosed this, said the move was to forestall abuse on the ban as was with the previous restriction on various streets, which saw uniformed men taking advantage to ply restricted routes.
Okafor said: “The ban on motorcycle operators is total. There will be no exceptions. We’ve met with the police and army authorities, and made it clear that their personnel won’t be allowed to ride motorcycles in the areas affected by the ban.
“We are not exempting anybody. It’s total and comprehensive. By July 1, no Okada will be seen on any road in Awka and Onitsha areas. It’s total.”
He said that by the ban on motorcycle operators in the state, over “1,000 thieves” would be weeded out.
“It is not in doubt that some of these Okada operators are criminals. They are the people snatching bags from women and students. With this ban, over 1,000 thieves will leave the state because they have lost their jobs,” he said.
The commissioner said Governor Willie Obiano has ordered no fewer than 1,000 shuttle buses from Japan to cushion the effect of the ban on “genuine motorcycle operators” in Awka and Onitsha areas of the state.
He said the buses were being expected in the state any time soon.
According to him, “The buses were ordered from Japan and would soon arrive the state at the cost of about N700,000 each.
“The disbursement of the buses would be handled by the Anambra Small Business Agency, ASBA and many commercial motorcycle operators have been visiting there in Awka to obtain information on the modalities for the acquisition of the buses.”
He said the beneficiaries would be given interest- free loans with which to purchase the buses, adding that the only condition to obtain the loan would be the provision of credible guarantors and attestations.
The commissioner said the buses would be available for both indigenes and non-indigenes, who were commercial motorcyclists, and wished to transmute to commercial bus drivers.