Commercial and Private motorcyclist in Abakaliki the Ebonyi State capital yesterday protested along the kpirikpiri axis of the Old Enugu/Ogoja express road as men of the Ebonyi State Police Command allegedly impounded over 100 motorcycles belonging to the protesters.
The protesters numbering over 30, marched from Nnodo down to Ogbaga road before converging opposite the Abakaliki township staduim where they allaged that police officers from the different Police Divisions impounded private motorcycles against the decision of the State Governor, Chief David Umahi.
Some of the motorcyclist who carried placards with inscriptions as, “Our dear Governor, Save us from police harassment”, “our children will die of hunger, should the Okada ban be implemented”, “our dear Gov Umahi, Pls rescind your decision and save us from untold hardship”, among others.
Speaking with a Spokesperson of the group, Mr. Clement Nwibo who said that the State Governor during his broadcast banning commercial motorcycle (Okada) was emphatic but regretted that as early as 8am, police officers with their van started impounding both private and commercial motorcycles within the town.
According to him, “I am not a commercial motorcycle operator, I was just conveying my brother in law that visited us to the park to board a vehicle back to the village but on getting to Ogbaga road, I saw police officers with their van stopping motorcyclist and impounding their motorcycle”.
“I knew that what the Governor said was commercial motorcycle operators, so I continued, as I approach them, one of them jumped to the road and stopped me, I told him am not a commercial motorcyclist and even showed him my bible, that I was going to the church, despite my explanation, they took my bike to their station”.
“We plead with the state government to please come to our rescue as the directive of the Governor is not been followed. They should identify those who are commercial and private and treat them accordingly”.
A commercial motorcyclist who spoke on grounds of anonymity pleaded with the state Governor to resent his decision adding that the ban would render many breadwinners of jobless and create untold hardship among families.
According to him, yes I am an Okada rider but since yesterday the information of the ban got to us, many of us didn’t want to disobey the state government directive so I stayed at home. Today is Easter celebration and my family stays in the village, I decided to visit my family since am not working”.
“I took off from my house and on getting to Udensi road, a team of policemen blocked me and impounded my motorcycle. I told them I was going to the village to celebrate Easter with my family, I even showed them the things I bought for my family inside my travelling bag but they insisted on taking the bike to their station, so I allowed them”.
“There is high level of hunger in the land now and banning Okada would increase the plight of people and take many to early grave. The Governor should help us and allow us continue with this business since there is no white-collar job. I am a graduate of business administration with family but I decided to do Okada business to fed my wife and 3 kids”.
It would be recalled that Governor Umahi on Saturday banned Okada from plying anywhere in the state to ensure strict compliance to boundary closure.