Enugu - Some residents of Nsukka town in Enugu State on Wednesday said the ban on the use of motorcycles in Enugu metropolis for commercial purposes would only increase unemployment.
Gov. Sullivan Chime had signed into law a bill by the Enugu State House of Assembly on July 3 prohibiting commercial motorcycles from operating in the Enugu metropolis.
Chime also urged law enforcement agents in the state to ensure strict enforcement of the law.
Reacting, Mr Jasper Ugwuoke, the Chairman, Nsukka Motorcyclists Association said in Nsukka that he received the news of the ban with shock.
According to him, the act is another means of increasing unemployment in the state.
``We have been negotiating with government on this issue for sometime now not to ban commercial motorcycles in the state capital.
``I am surprised to hear today that Chime has signed the bill into law on Tuesday. This will increase unemployment as well as crime in the society.
``I plead with government to rescind its decision or alternatively find means of livelihood for the affected motorcyclists,’’ he said.
Mr Chris Nnadi, Managing Editor, The Truth Newspaper, a community newspaper based in Nsukka, said that the ban would inflict more hardship on residents of the state.
He said that motorcyclists carried visitors to the doorsteps of their hosts.
``Is not the best to ban commercial motorcyclists now, labour market is overflowing with unemployed people.
``Government could have setup up a task force and equip it so as to monitor the activities of commercial motorcyclists since government is accusing them of aiding crimes in the state.
``Some people in Okada business are graduates; they are forced to be Okada operators because they cannot get employment.
``I urge government to handle this issue carefully to avoid over heating the system,’’ he said.
Mr Dominic Ezea, an electrician, said that government's decision was unacceptable as it would deny many residents means of livelihood.
He noted that some of those motorcycle operators were the bread winners of their families.
``Many families will go hungry because of this unpopular decision.
``Many children will drop out of school as a result of no money to pay school fees as their fathers, uncles and brothers have been sacked from their means of earning a living.
``Government could have built industries or trained these people in some skills before banning it,’ he said.
However, Mr Andrew Oborchi, a commercial motor driver, applauded government's decision saying that it would bring sanity on roads in Enugu metropolis.
``Okada riders are responsible for many accidents as they cannot maintain particular lane.
``I commend Chime as this will also help to monitor movements of people in the coal city, especially now that the country is going through serious security challenges.
``Government should, however, compensate them by training all registered Okada riders in the metropolis in one skill or the other so that they can be useful to themselves as well as to the society,” he said.