Mixed Feelings Trail Okada Ban In Enugu

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Commuters in Enugu are now trekking long distances while others wait for long to board buses, taxis and tricycles, following the State Government ban on commercial motorcyclist operations.

Our correspondent who monitored the situation in Enugu last Wednesday reported that the ‘Okada’ waiting bays was deserted.

School children, civil servants and traders thronged bus-stops to board buses to their destinations.

Some of the residents, who spoke to our Correspondent in separate interviews, applauded the State Government for taking the decision, while some condemned the policy.

Mrs Ngozi Nwabunne, a mother of two, commended government for the decision, saying that the  incident of handbag snatching, avoidable accidents and other vices allegedly being perpetrated with motorcycles would reduce.

Mr Christian Nwodo, a motor mechanic, said the ban would encourage youths to focus attention on crafts, which would help in re-building the state economy.

“Because of Okada you find it difficult to have apprentice in crafts like vulcanising, barbing, auto-mechanic and other artisan professions.

“It will also help our people to learn how to trek short and long distances as the advent of Okada has made both the young and old people to become lazy over trekking,’’ he said.

Miss Oluchi Okafor, a secondary school student, said the ban had brought hardship to school children as “some of us use Okada to go to school faster and easier because buses do not enter streets’’.

Mrs Chizoba Onwughalu, a food vendor at one of the Okada loading bays, said she was badly affected as she did not hear about the ban and prepared her usual food for sale for the day.

“I do not know why government is so interested in this Okada. No three months passes without one problem or the other with Okada.

“We will watch and see how long it will last and what government will do to alleviate the sufferings of the poor man in Enugu,’’ she said.

Mr Mathias Omeje, an Okada operator, decried the ban, adding that he bought a motorcycle recently on hire-purchase and had not completed the payment.

“I am finished because I do not know what to do. How do I pay back my debt and take care of my family in this situation,’’ he asked.

While security operatives were everywhere to ensure compliance, bus and ‘Keke-NAPEP’ drivers made brisk businesses as they had many passengers to carry without waiting for long.