IMOKE BANS TOUTS, OKADA IN CALABAR

By NBF News
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Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has banned all touts and illegal Okada riders operating within Calabar metropolis and have ordered security agents to arrest anyone still flouting the order after seven days.

Imoke had on November 2009 banned commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders, from operation. This had led to the introduction of Calabar taxi scheme to cushion the effects of the ban.

But investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the introduction of the new taxis seem to have brought untold hardship to operators, as touts have taken over the streets of Calabar extorting monies in the name of levies and rates.

In a statement made available to Daily Sun shortly after the town hall meeting to mark Democracy Day in Calabar, he called on cabs and bus drivers to desist from paying those agents henceforth and has given commercial motorcycle operators a seven-day ultimatum to stop operating within Calabar metropolis or be arrested. He expressed his disappointment with those saddled with the responsibiliy of enforcing the ban, stressing that an outright ban should take immediate effect and that it affected all.

According to the governor, the main culprits in flouting the ban were men in uniform as they claimed 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, commissioner of police and heads of parastatals in the state and it was agreed that those riding motorcycles should wear helmets and not carry passengers, saying the instruction was 'one man, one bike and one helmet.'

He said regrettably that this had 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.