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Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described as wicked the moves by the Federal Government to ban commercial motorcycles, popularly known as okada.
The Federal Road Safety Commission recently called for a nationwide ban of okada, saying they were responsible for the high rate of accidents in the country.
But the governor, who is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, said he would not ban okada in the state.
“In Ekiti State, we won’t ban okada because it is a source of livelihood for a lot of families. Why would anyone even contemplate such when government did not create alternative jobs?
“With this economic recession that is biting so hard, it is heartless of the Federal Government to even think of sending okada riders out of business, instead of putting machinery in motion towards checking their excesses.”
According to a statement issued on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose while addressing okada riders that accosted him in Ikere Ekiti on his way from Abuja on Saturday, said a ban on okada would worsen the country’s security situation because it would remove food from the tables of so many people.”
Fayose had while appearing on a live programme on Ekiti Television and Radio Stations said there were 14,000 okada riders in the state most of whom were graduates.
The governor, who promised okada riders in Ekiti State his continued support and assistance, said no one would prevent okada riders from operating as long as they did not go against the law.
He said, “The hunger in the land is killing and most of these okada riders are graduates who have taken to commercial motorcycling to survive because of unemployment. Many of them are even those who lost their jobs within the 21-month existence of this All Progressives Congress led-Federal Government and government workers, whose salaries are not being paid regularly. How does the Federal Government expect them to feed if their means of livelihood is taken away?
“If commercial motorcycling is a major cause of fatal road accidents across the country as posited by the Federal Government, should proposing a ban be an option?
“Should we also say motor vehicles, especially heavy-duty vehicles, should be banned from plying our roads because they also cause accidents?”