1. The Anambra State Government wishes to thank all commercial motorcyclists in the state capital, Awka and in Onitsha, the commercial nerve of the Southeast geopolitical zone, for complying fully with the restriction of operation of motorcycle taxis, popularly known as Okada, in these two cities and environs which was implemented on Sunday, July 1st, 2018.
2. The Government also wishes to commend the Association of Okada Operators of Nigeria, Anambra State branch, for ensuring that its members in Awka and Onitsha abided by the legitimate order made in the overriding interest of the people of Anambra State.
3. The Government, in addition, wishes to express gratitude to security agencies in the state, including the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA) Brigade, as well as various local government outfits, for the tremendous success recorded in the first forty-eight hours of the policy.
4. We also thank the people of Anambra State for their great understanding, cooperation and support. They have always been with this administration every inch of the way because they know that every policy has been designed to take them to the next level and make Anambra State truly the Light of the Nation.
5. Despite the huge success recorded in compliance with the restriction order on Okada operations in Awka and Onitsha, the State Government is aware of certain challenges with the implementation of the new policy. For instance, some people went late to church yesterday because there were not enough vehicles in the inner streets to transport people early enough to their destinations. This very problem was, however, solved in most places within a few hours as tricycle operators moved into these areas.
6. Still, we are not oblivious that the erstwhile Okada riders in Awka and Onitsha have yet to receive the 1000 seven-seat shuttle buses which the Anambra State Government has ordered for them from Japan at the cost of N765million and will be handed over to them at the exact prices at which they were procured. The Government will bear the management charges because it regards the replacement of commercial motorcycles with buses to be owned by the former Okada riders as a key economic empowerment programme for the poor in society.
7. To quicken the process of accessing the interest-free loan for the shuttle buses from the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA), prospective bus owners must be identified by the Okada Operators Association in Awka and Onitsha as bona fide members. They will then go for one week training to be conducted by the Anambra State Vehicle Inspection Office and the FRSC. On satisfactory completion of the training, they can apply to ASBA for the loan which has to be repaid within 18 months. They are required to pay an initial deposit of N100,000; those who cannot afford the deposit can form groups of two or three persons or cooperative societies to be eligible to apply for the facility. They will sign an undertaking to pay some money every two weeks until the loan is repaid.
8. The empowerment programme for the Okada riders has understandably been generating acute interest across the nation probably because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that such a programme has been developed. However, we would like to reiterate for the umpteenth time that only registered Okada riders who are members of the Association of Okada Operators in Awka and Onitsha are eligible to participate in the programme.
9. Once again, we thank all the stakeholders in Anambra State for their support of the new policy on the use of motorcycles in Awka and Onitsha.
God bless Anambra State.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment