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Effective July 1, Okada business in Awka, Onitsha remains outlawed, says Anambra Govt.

Youth unemployment and other possible ripple effects in terms of urban terrorism and associated criminality may take over two major cities of Anambra state, including Onitsha, the commercial hub, and Awka, the capital city, if the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, goes ahead to implement total ban on motorcycles as a means of transport.

Whereas analysts say well over 10,000 youths are making their daily bread from the job, the government has advised the motorcyclists to change to other legitimate businesses before the July 1 deadline.

In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. James Eze, government said the ban was one of the many resolutions from the meeting of the Anambra State Executive Council which took place on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

“The ultimatum given to the ‘okada’ operators in the two cities was part of the overall strategy adopted by the state government to deepen its crackdown on crime and restore sanity to Onitsha and Awka.”

Also, squatters in make-shift structures on the banks of the River Niger, stretching from Onitsha to Ogbaru, were given until August 1, 2018 to relocate from those places along the waterfront as they had been marked for demolition.

The major factor considered by the government in taking the decision was to tame the activities of the men of the underworld in the state.

Government averred that “The length of time given as deadline to ‘Okada’ operators and the shanty-dwellers was intended to offer them enough time to make the necessary adjustments in order to fit into the emerging socio-cultural setting in the state”.

It was not however clear, if government has any plans in supporting the thousands of youths who would be out of job due to the directive from July either in form of car or Tricycle loans so as to cushion the expected impacts of the ban.

Other far-ranging resolutions reached by the council included the establishment of a Committee on Environment, with a mandate to clean up Anambra State; clear out garbage dumps and overflowing drainages, and demolish illegal structures that were either obstructing the way or ruining the aesthetics of the Anambra environment.

The government said it was going to sustain the ongoing campaign to put an end to roadside trading that often led to avoidable traffic congestion and return sanity to the roads and highways of Anambra State.

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