Security Issues: Okada Commercial Cyclists And Their Oversight Functions
I traveled to the Eastern part of the country where I spent my Christmas and New Year holidays with family and friends and noticed that the Niger Bridge and the new Ojukwu Highway is wearing new looks. That portion of road failed when I was still a boy growing up in Onitsha decades ago. You can imagine my joy when the two lanes have suddenly become visible and motorable. The state government is credited with this achievement. Of course I equally saw the beautification exercise going on around the near-recent ill-popular Upper Iweka flyover bridge.
The joy the beautification programme brought me is so, knowing that Upper Iweka Road used to be so very ubiquitous and solely known for everything evil on the surface earth. Onitsha dwellers will never forget even at gun-point what some unfortunate family members and friends and visitors have had to suffer in the hands of all manner of miscreants around the flyover bridge: daylight robberies, murders, ritual killings and extortions from area boys and the annoying activities of tax collectors used to be the order of the day.
Just like with a wave of hand, those ugly shanties that used to be the chalets of these evil people, are no more. In their place is this beauty only Lagos and Abuja are known for.
But the only fear gnawing the minds of Ndi Anambra away is the nefarious activities of okada cyclists. Not necessarily the commercial cyclists. Armed and robbing youths have resorted to the use of motorcycles to hunt down their victims and dispossess them of their lives, cars, money and other valuables on them. A story is told of a commercial cyclist who picked up a woman at one of the markets in Nnewi for a service charge. At a seedy junction, his motorcycle suddenly developed a fault of its own. Within a twinkle of an eye, this poor woman was dispossessed of over sixty thousand naira and the Christmas goat on her. As God would have it, this smart victim appealed to the cyclist to take her back to the market. He did and that became his funeral.
This is appealing to the Anambra State government to do something about the activities of armed cyclists who are fast turning the source of income to hardworking Nigerians into other people’s nightmares instead of a sweeping legislation or executive policy that would deny patriotic Nigerians their genuine source of income.