by Rachel Ogbu
Commercial motorcyclists popularly called okada riders have protested against the ban on their activities by the Edo state government.
On Wednesday, riders in their thousands took to the streets in Benin City asking Governor Adams Oshiomhole to revise plans to prohibit that mode of transportation in three local government areas of Benin metropolis for security reasons.
The ban which is said to take effect from Monday was highly criticised.
A protester, Emmanuel Okobia, who spoke to Punch news said government erred in banning their activities without proper notice. “Oshiomhole got it wrong this time. How can he announce a ban on Okada with just one week notice? We are all family men and breadwinners, where does he want us to get our daily bread from?” he said.
According to reports, a commercial motorcycle operator, Adams Ediowa, said two months ago, they were made to pay N2, 000 each for jackets that were never given to them.
“Just two months ago, they forced us to pay N2, 000 for a jacket which they claimed would differentiate real riders from hoodlums, which they did not even give us. At the end of the day, it was stickers that they gave to us. So, who is deceiving who now? Oshiomhole should think twice,” he said.
The Punch reports:
Human and vehicular traffic was paralysed, as entry points into the ever busy Ring Road were barricaded by the protesters, who hooted their horns and brandished leaves.
Workers and other commuters who had wanted to beat the early hour rush were disappointed as they were caught in the ensuing snarl.
Combined security operatives, made up of soldiers and anti-riot policemen, who were later drafted in however dispersed the protesters