Plateau motorcyclists shun govt ban on operations

In spite of the extant law banning the operations of commercial motorcycles within the Jos and the Bukuru metropolis, operators have continued to defiantly contravene the law.

Arewa PUNCH reports that the law, which was passed by the Plateau State House of Assembly in 2012 and assented to by former Governor Jonah Jang, also prohibits tricycles from plying certain designated routes in the state capital.

However, more than 12 years after it was enacted, operators of commercial motorcycles have continued to breach the law in total disgust and disregard to its aims and objectives.

Arewa PUNCH monitored the situation on Monday and observed that with impunity the commercial motorcycles still operated freely in Jos, including along the Bauchi Road, Ahmadu Bello Way, Rayfield, Bukuru express way, Building Materials, Hwolshe, Zaramaganda, Dadin Kowa, Sabon Barki, Rantya, Tudun Wada, Abattoir and the Yakubu Gowon Way, among others.

In separate interviews with our correspondent, a cross-section of the residents expressed their concern over the non-compliance to the law by the motorcyclists, saying that their free operation is constituting a security threat and nuisance to the citizens.

Many of the residents also complain of having lost their valuables and cash to the activities of hoodlums who pose as commercial  motorcycle riders.

According to the concerned residents who spoke with Arewa PUNCH, they observe that if nothing is urgently done, given their increasing number on a daily basis, Jos and the Bukuru metropolis would soon be playing host to all manner of motorcyclists who were sacked from other states.

“Honestly, we have a big problem at hand in Jos and the Bukuru axis regarding the activities of these Okada riders,” screamed a Jos resident.

According to him, “One of the primary reasons for banning their operations is public safety. Okada-related accidents have been alarmingly frequent, resulting in injuries and fatalities, particularly among passengers and pedestrians.

“The inherent risks associated with motorcycle riding, including reckless driving, overloading, and lack of proper safety gear, exacerbate these dangers,” he further noted.

“By restricting motorcycle usage, the government aims to mitigate these risks and create a safer environment for all road users.

“But it appears that all the good intentions of the government have been defeated with the return of the commercial motorcycles in virtually every street of Jos and Bukuru even in the presence of security operatives who ordinarily should enforce the law banning their operations,” another resident, Bulus Choji chipped in.

 In his estimation, “The situation is as bad as that,” he lamented.

However, some commercial motorcyclists who spoke with our correspondent in Jos insisted that they find it difficult to abandon the trade despite the existing law.

They maintained that they remain in the business in a bid to feed their families.

One of them, Philip Haruna who plies the Rukuba routes to Gada Biu said, “It is not as if we are deliberately violating the law banning our operations but how do we eat if we do not ride the motorcycles? Many of us have families as well. How will they feed? Because it is from what we are able to make that we are able to take care of ourselves and families.

“So, that is the problem. Look at the downturn of our economy. Do we stay idle and die of hunger?” He queried no one exactly, then stressed, “But if the government can help us to find alternative means of livelihood, I’m sure many of our people will vacate the roads,” he sounded positive.

When Arewa PUNCH contacted the Police Public Relations Officer in Plateau State, Alabo Alfred, he  insisted that the law banning the operations of commercial motorcycles was still in force.

“The total ban on the operation of commercial motorcycles also known as ‘Okada’ within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis remains in force,” the PPRO said.

He thus urged  members of the  public to desist from violating extant laws in their own interest but cooperate with law enforcement agents, and adhere to all regulations and directives, and report any suspicious activities or individuals to the nearest police station.

Speaking in a similar vein, the state government also frowned at the constant violation of the law banning commercial motorcycles and warned those responsible to desist from such acts in their best interest.

The state Commissioner for Information, Musa Ashoms, who gave the warning maintained that the government is committed to sanitising the transport sub sector in the best interest of the Plateau people

Ashoms pointed out, “The law banning the operation of commercial motorcycles in Jos and Bukuru metropolis has not been repealed. So there is no reason for anybody to go against the law.

“As a government, we are committed to bringing sanity to the transportation system in the state, and our plans to achieve this purpose is on course.

“Part of that plan is the reason why the government has acquired mass transit metro buses which will ply major routes in the state capital at subsidised rates to ease the transportation problem being experienced by the people. And very soon, the buses which have already arrived the state will hit the streets,” the  Commissioner assured.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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