Stakeholders have expressed concern over plan by the Federal Government to ban the operation of commercial motorcycles across the country.
They appealed to government to provide alternative means of livelihood to commercial motorcycle operators before banning the use.
The people expressed their concern in separate interviews with The Tide’s source in the South-South.
They said that the ban would cause more hardship to Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas, who depended on motorcycles as the only means of transport due to the deplorable condition of roads.
The respondents urged government to restrict the ban to cities and areas bedeviled by terrorism and banditry.
The source recalls that few weeks ago, the Federal Government announced that it was considering a ban on the use of commercial motorcycles across the country.
Government’s intention was informed by the massive deployment of motorbikes by terrorists, bandits and kidnappers in their criminal activities.
Mr Isreal Promise said in Port Harcourt that government should provide an alternative means of livelihood for commercial motorcyclists before banning the operation.
“We know about the insecurity in the north and other parts of the country. We understand that bandits and terrorists operate more with bikes.
“In most states, robbery and kidnapping in the rural areas are done with bikes and tricycles.
“But if there are other alternative means that government will put in place to help people in moving to their places or business, the ban can be effective,” he said.
He said stopping the use of motorcycles without providing alternative means of livelihood would cause massive unemployment and increase insecurity in the country.
Supporting his stance,a clergy, Paul Achiubo, said “most roads in the rural areas of the country are not motorable, only bikes can be used on such roads.”
Another Port Harcout resident, Mrs Blessing Godwin, called for proper monitoring of motorcycle riders to prevent them from committing crimes with motorcycles.
In Calabar, Mr Gill Nsa, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Cross River Council, said an outright ban on commercial motorcycles in Nigeria might backfire.
Nsa said although there were serious security concerns in the nation aggravated by the increased use of commercial motorcycles, the welfare of the users should also be considered.
“An outright ban will affect ordinary Nigerians who need bikes to enter areas that are not motorable and those that use it as a source of livelihood.
“I have seen people who grew from being commercial motorcyclists to buying their own taxis and commercial buses.
“If government imposes a total ban, many people will be pushed into crime; there must be a balance to this.
“I think the ban should be in the cities, but in the rural areas where people know one another and can easily identify strangers, commercial motorcyclists should be allowed to operate,” he said.
On her part, Mrs Theresa Akpan, a civil servant, said before any ban on commercial motorcycle, there should be an alternative source of livelihood for people in the business.
According to her, government should know that commercial motorcyclists are not the cause of insecurity in Nigeria and fight the root causes.
“Already it is difficult to feed. Many of the riders are educated with degrees but there are no other jobs for them or loans from government to enable them to start other businesses.
“Our roads are bad; there are many communities in this country that you can access with only motorcycles. So government should think critically before effecting any nationwide ban,” she said.
A trader at the popular Marian Market, Calabar, Mr Adam Ekong, said the proposed ban was proper because it would improve security.
He, however, added that it shoud be restricted to areas experiencing insurgency and banditry.
For Mr Osagie Osayande, the Planning Officer in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Council of Edo State, commercial motorcycle riding is the major means of transportation in rural areas.
“The ban will affect movement, especially transportation of farm produce from one location to another. It will also render many commercial motorcyclists jobless and increase crime rate,” he said.
Another respondent, Mrs Jenifer Idemudia of Nigeria Correctional Service, Edo State Command, said motorcycles had generated employment for millions of citizens.
According to her, there are plants in the country where motorcycles are assembled after being imported.
She further said some factories locally manufactured the plastic components of motorcycles, using local rubber from different states, including Edo.
On his part, Mr Felix Azibaola, Chairman, Tricycle Riders Association, Bayelsa State, also said in Yenagoa that government should provide alternative means of livelihood for commercial motorcyclists before the ban.
He said commercial motorcycles gradually gained acceptance as a result of inadequate transport facilities and bad state of roads in the country, especially in the hinterland.
A respondent in Uyo, Mr Patrick Titus, described the intended ban as a bad economic policy, saying that majority of the commercial motorcyclists earned their living from the operation.
Titus added that the proposed ban would not be in the best interest of the people as a many Nigerians used motorcycles as means of transportation.
He said that motorcycle riding for commercial purposes had reduced unemployment in the country.
“If we have people who are using motorcycles for dubious activities, there are still people using them for good economic purposes.
“If government does not have alternative means to convey people in rural areas to their different locations, then the ban will have a very serious economic implications across the country,” he added.
A civil servant in Asaba, Mr. Steve Oboko, said rather than ban commercial motorcycles, government should think of ways to regulate the operators for effecient and secured services.
“If you take look at this ‘okada’ business in our society today, you will agree with me that it is a booming business venture.
“We are talking of a business that has engaged milliions of men – young and old – and provided means of livelihood to many families.
“If you ask me, “okada” operations is not the security problem facing Nigeria. So, why sacrifice the business for nothing?
“So, putting an end to such business will have serious economic and security implications on many families and the society in general,” Oboko said.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of 2Baba
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of a wanted cult leader, Gift Okpara aka 2 Baba, who was declared the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of the Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada Division, Bako Angbashim, in September last year.
Angbashim was ambushed and captured in Odiemudie community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of the State, by the cult gang members who dismembered his body and filmed it.
Since the death of the gallant corp, the command has been on Okpara’s trail, with constant land and air bombardments in the various hideouts of the Iceland cult leader, even as some of his lieutenants were reportedly gunned down.
But the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement on Monday, said intelligence reports revealed that the wanted cultist was killed in a recent joint security raid in Idu-Ekpeye community, Ahoada West Local Government Area.
Irinke-Koko, a Superintendent of Police, also said a human skull, assorted rifles, explosives, and various charms amongst others were recovered during the last raids, in his new hideout which culminated in his death.
The statement read, “On February 17, 2024, at around 12:00hrs, 2Baba and his gang attacked Okogbe town and Odiokwu community in Ahoda West LGA, destroying pipelines.
“At 04:00hrs, operatives raided 2Baba’s new camp. Despite a fierce gun battle, 2Baba and his gang members escaped.
“However, at around 14:00hrs, intelligence confirmed 2Baba’s death after he lost consciousness and resuscitation attempts failed.
The police said efforts were in progress to retrieve the body of the suspected killer, while investigations into the Iceland cult’s activities in the region would continue.
“The Rivers State Police Command remains resolute in its duty to protect the lives and property of the citizens, and it will continue to employ all necessary resources and strategies to ensure a safe and secure environment for all,” it concluded.
The statement listed items recovered from the camp to include one AK47 rifle, one G3 rifle, one scorpion rifle, one double-barrelled locally made gun, and two locally made pistols.
Others were one cut-to-size double-barrelled gun, one bulletproof vest, 13 pieces of dynamites, five rounds of 9mm live ammunition, 10 army camouflages, 11 assorted charms, one human skull and one jack knife.
Meanwhile, there has been reported jubilation in the Ahoada area of the state following the killing of the infamous cult leader whom they said kept terrorising communities in the area and demanding various sums of money from households with severe negative threats for those who didn’t give in to his demands.
MOSIEND Hails Former NNPCL Executive Vice President
The foremost Niger Delta mass mobilisation organisation, the movement for the Survival Of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) has described Sir Adokiye Tombomieye as a detribalised leader and a philanthropist of uncommon degree in Niger Delta region MOSIEND also hailed the Niger Delta former Vice President, Upstream Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited NNPCL as he marks his 60th birthday in Port Harcourt.
President General, MOSIEND, Dr. Kennedy Tonjo West said the celebrant had touched the lives of thousands of youths across Nigeria.
Described as a great character, father, an influential and a peace maker, MOSIEND said Tombomieye had transformed the lives of thousands of youths across the country by empowering them positively and seeing them through their various careers and dreams.
MOSIEND in a statement signed by the National President prayed Almighty God to grant the celebrant more longevity on earth as he sojourns in all affairs of humanity on earth.
“On behalf of the leadership and teeming members of Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), we join the host of heaven and millions of the global community in celebrating a man of great character and influence, a detribalised Nigerian, an enigma, peacemaker, trailblazer, leader par excellence, compassionate in his work, one with a large heart, philanthropist of unparalleled degree, father to countless many, man of inestimable value, a living legend, Sir Adokiye Tombomieye as he turns 60 today.
The statement also described the celebrant as a philanthropist and father to the less privileged Niger Delta youths and Nigerians at large.
Sir Adokiye Tombomieye who recently retired from the NNPCL getting to the zenith of his career as the Executive Vice President Upstream is one of the few Niger Delta illustrious son with vast connect , friends and associates as the length and breadth of the country. A silent achiever , an unsung hero of some sort. A pillar and a role model to young and upcoming leaders.
MOSIEND leader who described Sir Tombomieye as an Icon and a trailblazer noted that he had given hope to many hopeless youths of the region through his philanthropic ventures.
He noted that Sir Tombomieye’s immense contributions towards the socio economic and institutional advancement of the Niger Delta cannot be over-emphasised. “During his days in NNPCL even as he rose to the Executive President Upstream, NNPCL, he was more accessible than a local government chairman in the Niger Delta region. His office was wide open for everyone with one issue or the other in Abuja, and Adokiye was ready to hear everyone out, solving problems. He is a rare gem, Adokiye lived his life for others. Retired but not tired. Leaders in the region should emulate the sterling qualities of Tombomieye in order to attract development to the region,” he said.
As a leader, the Organization wishes him good health and long life in all his undertakings
The statement urged people of the region to supports and pray for him in all his endeavours as a true leader and a blessing to the region.
We wish him best of luck in his future endeavours.
N’Delta Youth Leaders Warn Against Sabotaging New NDDC
A conglomeration of youth leaders from the Niger Delta has warned those frustrating the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) “Project Hope” to have a rethink or face the wrath of the youths.
The youth leaders in a joint press conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday warned that any group or individuals who want to thwart the “Project Hope” scheme will be considered enemy of the Niger Delta.
Former Special Adviser to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youth Matters, Ambassador Alfred Etule, said the current plight of Niger Deltans requires cogent plan that will lift the people out of poverty.
He explained that the new Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbunku, had conceived the Project Hope as path to empower the region and the people.
Ambassador Etule expressed regrets that since the project was conceived, some big wigs driven by selfish interests are working to frustrate it.
“That project was supposed to kick start by December last year, but uptil, now, this February, we have not seen anything,’’ he lamented.
The youth leaders said those who love to frustrate good plans and development of the Niger Delta have teamed up to see how they can kill the dream of the new NDDC management, but the youths will resist them.
On his part, Comrade Adokiye Muji-Tab revealed that some communities have donated land for the projects, as it is disheartening to hear of the delay to commence the scheme.
He said, “the NDDC has good intention, and for us, this is the first time they want to get it right. The projects cover the nine States of the Niger Delta. It is so sad that we still have people who want things to be done the old way.”
Comrade Muji-Tab urged all stakeholders and youths to stand up and defend their rights. “We stand by this project with this new idea and we are grateful to the Managing Director who initiated the idea,’’ he said.
Explaining the benefits of “Project Hope”, President of Niger Delta Youth Movement, Comrade Prince Boboye Peretu stated that it covers all areas of development including technical skills and physical infrastructure.
“ The vision is to empower the region and reduce the suffering and pains of the people. It is something that will transform the area since over the years we have not gotten development yet,” he revealed.
He added that the idea is to ensure each NDDC member state focus on area of strength like agriculture, youths development, skills and empowerment.
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