The member representing Nnewi North State Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor, has reacted to the recent publication credited to the state government that ban has been placed on commercial motorcycles in Nnewi, stating that there is no Executive Order nor Legislative enactment to that effect.
The State Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu had in a briefing after a meeting of the state executive council, ANSEC, reiterated that government ban on commercial motorcycles in major cities such as Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia is still in force.
The Commissioner however in a statement on Saturday, controverted his earlier statement, saying the cities that are specifically affected by the ban are Awka and Onitsha.
According to him, Nnewi is an exception because of the predominance of private motorcycle owners who personally ride to their offices, shops, schools, markets, etc.
He however, warned that they should wear crash helmets to protect themselves in the event of an accident.
Speaking to journalists in Awka, Hon. Okafor said that there is no existing ban on commercial motorcycles in Nnewi and as such, it is only an existing ban that can be reinforced.
Okafor said although there have been series of security reports that the current wave of crime witnessed in Nnewi is perpetuated with commercial motorcycles, which could justify a ban, placing ban on motorcycles is never the solution.
In his view, the ban on motorcycles should also mean banning the use of any form of cars since many kidnap cases and attacks are allegedly executed with cars.
According to the lawmaker, “although motorcycle operators cannot be absolved from some of the crimes being alleged, putting the blame squarely on them will be counter-productive.
“The policy if implemented will affect the source of livelihood of many families, thereby sending thousands of the citizens, especially the youths into the labour market which will even worsen the security situation in the town.”
The lawmaker stated that such ban will affect the Nnewi economy on the basis that the distribution chain in the motorcycle industry, ranging from dealers in motorcycles which is the mainstay of Nnewi economy, artisans like mechanics, vulcanizers, and many more will be thrown out of jobs, thereby giving rise to vices that will definitely lead to insecurity.
“The major economic attraction to Nnewi is the sale of motorcycle parts, it will be insensitivity on the part of the government to place a ban on motorcycle transportation in a town that has Nkwo Nnewi which remains the major import and wholesale point for motorcycle spare parts in Nigeria,” the lawmaker noted.
The former Chairman National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Anambra State Chapter, noted that such policy will be highly anti-Nnewi when it is clear that Nnewi has the worst deplorable state of roads in Anambra.
According to the lawmaker, many roads in Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewichi cannot be accessed if not through motorcycles.
Hon. Nonso who is also the House of Representative candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) for Nnewi North, Nnewi South, and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, also highlighted that it will be unfair that the present security challenge should put an end to the genuine means of livelihood of people.
He, therefore, urged Nnewi community which has been alarmed by the alleged ban to remain calm as contacts he made to relevant offices of government show that the alleged ban is not the intention of government.