The Ebonyi Government says it plans to provide foodstuffs to registered commercial motorcyclists (Okada) to cushion the effect of the ban on their operation in the state. The state government on April 11, banned all forms of motorcycle riding because ‘okada’ riders convey people into the state through illegal routes with the closure of its boundaries.

Mr. Uchenna Orji, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation said this in a statement on Monday in Abakaliki.

Orji directed all ‘Okada’ unions across the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state to compile the lists of their members with evidence of registration and payment of fees, for onward submission to government. “This should be through the LGA Chairmen and the Commissioner for Border, Peace and Conflict Resolution and be submitted to the office of the Deputy Governor. “The compilation should reach the deputy governor’s office latest April 20, 2020, as the measure will enable the commercial motorcyclists and their families to stay indoors,” he said. The commissioner said that non-registered members of ‘okada’ unions will not benefit from the government’s gesture. “The government is shocked about complaints about the ban whereas should the worst happen, movements in the state will be lockdown. “People must see life above business as the government has not locked down the state like others because it understands its poverty level,” he said.

Orji further re-iterated that the ban on okada and motorcycles throughout the state was still in force and riders who defaulted will be prosecuted. “This will be according to the Ebonyi Coronavirus and other Dangerous (Infectious) Diseases and Related Matters Law 005 of 2020. “The confiscated motorcycles may also be auctioned,” he said.