Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has set aside N765 million for commercial motorcyclists in the state to enable them purchase shuttle buses following the government’s decision to restrict them from operating in Awka, the state capital, and Onitsha, the Southeast commercial hub, from July 1.
This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba.
According to the statement, “the funds will be accessed through the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA). Existing commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada operators, will take delivery of the buses once they deposit N100,000 with ASBA undertaking to make payments every two weeks.
The interest-free loan can be repaid within a year and a half. The shuttle buses will cost between N700,000 and N800,000 each.
The first set of 200 units of the 1,000 buses in the scheme will arrive in the state anytime from now from Japan.”
Adinuba, in the statement, said Obiano’s administration decided to phase out Okada operations in Awka and Onitsha so as to economically empower the operators and quicken the process of turning the state into a modern place like Dubai.
Reacting to the decision, chairman of the Okada Riders Association in the state, Jude Udegbe, described it “as another evidence of Obiano’s humane nature” while the chairman of the state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jerry Nnubia, called it a welcome development which has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of Okada operators and reduce the crime rate in our state.