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Nigerians Kick Over Planned Ban On Commercial Motorcycles

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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.

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Rivers

N’ Delta Activist Hails Diete-Spiff At 80

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A renowned activist in Rivers State and Niger Delta stakeholder, Rev (Dr) Sokari Soberedon, has applauded the first Military Governor of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff for recently celebrating his 80th birthday anniversary, describing him as an astute administrator and consummate leader, who laid a solid foundation for the development of old Rivers State.
Soberekon, who made the commendation in Port Harcourt lauded Diete –Spiff for clocking the ripe age of 80 years, and thanked God for preserving his life.
He recalled that as a good team player, Diete –Spiff had given him listening ears, when they sat down together in far away Lagos to plan for the development of the young state, as soon as he was appointed the Military Governor by General Yakubu Gowon ( rtd) shortly after the state was created in 1967.
While lauding the giant development strides of the Diete-Spiff administration, Soberekon said the former Military Governor exhibited uncommon foresight and forthrightness in putting on ground some of the monumental infrastructures for the smooth take –off of the young state which, he noted have stood the test of time, having endured till this day.
The Niger Delta activist, who would also be celebrating his 80th birthday on September 24, 2022, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for following in footsteps of Diete-Spiff in further taking Rivers State to greater heights, and appealed to him to assist him have a wonderful and memorable birthday celebration by giving him the needed financial support, as one of the living founding fathers of the state and renowned exponent of the oil derivation principle.

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Rivers

Rotary Club Installs 50th President

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The Rotary Club of Port Harcourt District 9141 has installed Rotarian Obiageli Ejezie as its 50th president.
The ceremony which took place at the Rotary Centre, Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt, was attended by people from all walks of life.
Speaking shortly after her installation, Rotarian Ejezie listed out some programmes the club intends to pursue within the next rotary year.
Among programmes listed include maternal and child health basic education and literacy as well as water and sanitation.
Rotarian Ejezie also said the club would embarked on disease prevention and treatment, economic empowerment and community development as well as peace and conflict resolution.
She said the club would target projects that will impact positively on the lives of the people, saying the programmes are meant to affect lives positively and bring lasting change in the society.
Also speaking, the immediate past president of the club, Rotarian Mike Ezeanya, said his administration impacted on seven areas within the last Rotary year.
Ezeanya listed the achievements of the club in the last Rotary year to include donation of medical equipment and consumable drugs to the primary healthcare centre in Port Harcourt, donation and provision of desks, tables, textbooks, notebooks and learning aids to two primary schools and provision of hygiene facilities.
Other achievements, according to him, are free eye treatment and diagnoses test to over 150 public transport drivers, micro credit empowerment to 50 market women with grants and loans, financial rewards and recognition to encourage public school teachers, rewards of excellence to public school students, civic child acquisition, creation of awareness in market places and free planting campaign.
Ezeanya commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the rehabilitation of the Rotary Centre road and also thanked members for their support.

By: John Bibor & Oribim Ibama.

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Rivers

Monarch Restates Stance On Peace, Conflict Resolution

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The Paramount Ruler of Rumuokwurusi, Eze Simeon Wokoma, has reiterated his initial stance to maintain peace and strengthen the strings of conflict resolution mechanism in his community.
Wokoma said this when he received the award of the ‘Outstanding Monarch On Peace Maintenance/Conflict Resolution of The Year 2022’ by the leadership of Coalition of Niger Delta Journalists at his palace in Rumuokwurusi in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area recently.
Wokoma, a Knight of the Anglican communion, said his insistence on promotion of peace was to invoke even development in the area.
According to him, no human environment has witnessed any form of growth amidst crisis and conflict.
Not dismissing the possibilities of conflict among the people, he said the most important thing was to ensure that no disagreement in the Community snowballs into major crisis.
He noted that such must be achieved through a regular meeting with all classes of people in the Community with a view to knowing their challenges and providing solutions to same.
“As a Paramount ruler, my concern is to have a peaceful reign. As a man of peace, I will be bothered, if my people are not enjoying peace, that is why I stand for peace and conflict resolution”, he said.
The Rumuokwurusi King alsoelugized the Rivers State Governor, NyesomWike, over his determination to give the State a permanent facelift.
He spoke on the backdrop of the Rumuokwurusi flyover construction and other sundry works in the State and added that he has the growth and development of Rivers people at heart.
Meanwhile, he has appreciated the team for the honour done him and promised to do his best in activities that can lead to the betterment of journalists in the State.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the Team, Mr. WarisoWariso, said the Eze was chosen due to what he called “his undiluted concern for promotion of peace in his community and beyond”.
He chronicled how their host solely empowered indigent people in his Kingdom, noting that “there was no better way to honour such a man than what we have done”.

By: King Onunwor

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