Imoke Bans Okada In Calabar


CALABAR, CROSS RIVER, June 01, (THEWILL) - Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has given commercial motor cycle operators popularly known as Okada a seven day ultimatum to stop operating within Calabar Metropolis or be arrested.

Speaking during a special Town Hall Meeting in the main bowl of the State Cultural Centre Calabar with a cross section of the community to mark 2010 Democracy Day, Imoke expressed his disappointment with those saddled with the policy of enforcing the ban, stressing that an outright ban should take an immediate effect and it affects all.

According to Imoke, the main culprits in flouting the ban are men in uniform as they claim immunity, and turn themselves to cyclists, thereby debasing their profession and causing confusion.

The Governor said he had held series of consultations with service commanders, the Commissioner of Police and heads of Parastatal units in the State and it was agreed that those riding motor cycles should wear helmets and not carry passengers, saying the instruction was “one man, one bike and one helmet”.

He said regrettably, this has been flouted by those saddled with its enforcement. He therefore ordered all motorcyclists to stop operating within one week.

He equally ordered the Special Adviser, Public Transportation, Mr. Gabriel Okulaja to withdraw staff of Department of Public Transportation from the roads as a result of the unruly way they operate, adding that their crude and rude ways of tackling transportation matters as well as extortion on the high way was unacceptable.

Imoke called for a proper orientation to be organized on how to approach their responsibilities while advising both Calabar South and Calabar Municipal Governments to withdraw their tax agents from the streets and evolve better ways of collecting rates and taxes.

The Governor called on cab and bus drivers to desist from paying those agents henceforth.

On the involvement of government in agriculture, the governor said rather than participate directly, government intends to provide agricultural inputs and infrastructure to farmers in order to create wealth, stressing that the economy of the old Eastern Region was not entirely derived from the estates but also on the ability of the citizens to pay tax.

"Government should not be involved in agriculture because at the end of the day the estates do not make the returns," he said, adding that "the economy of the countries where agriculture is the main stay, agriculture is done by the private sector."

The Governor disclosed that in Cross River none of its indigene has 400 hectares of oil palm plantation or 100 hectares of cocoa plantation but non Cross Riverians resident or outside the state own such plantations in Cross River, advising that Cross Riverians should pull resources and invest greatly in agriculture and as well benefit from the various incentives created by the Federal government for farmers.