Asaba – Commercial motorcycle operators in Delta have appealed to the state government to extend the Oct. 1 deadline for the phasing out of the motorcycles in the state.
They said that the notice, announced by Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan on Sept. 4, was too short for them to prepare for new ventures.
In separate interviews with journalists in Asaba, the Okada operators said the ban took them unawares.
One of them, Mr Friday Odom, said that the government ought to have given them enough time to take decision on “how to re-arrange our lives’’.
“Given the present economic situation in the country, one must take time to think properly before going into any venture and that is the appeal I and my colleagues are making to the government.
“We cannot stop them from banning Okada but they should realise that we have families and it will be unfair to push us out of business without time for us to go into a new one.
“The government should have a human face and consider the suffering its action will bring to the families of Okada riders,’’ Odom said.
He added that some persons might be forced to relocate out of the state if nothing was done to “save the situation’’.
He expressed worry that the tricycles the government promised to distribute to the Okada operators might not be given to many of their members.
According to him, the tricycle, like other government incentives, will be given to only those who have people in government.
Another Okada operator, Mr Yaya Mohammed, told journalists that he would not accept tricycle from the government, saying that he still had balance of the “hire purchase” agreement on his motorcycle to pay.
“If I accept the tricycle, I will not be able to pay for it because I am still paying Okada I bought through hire purchase,’’ he said, adding that many of his colleagues had the same problem.
A resident, Mrs Isioma Okafor, decried the ban on the motorcycles, saying that it would bring much hardship on the people.
She said it was obvious the government would not provide enough tricycles to cover the cities, noting that tricycles would not be able to take people to their homes as did Okada.
She appealed to the government restrict the ban to major roads and allow commercial motorcycles to operate in the inner streets in the major towns.