By Taiye Edeni
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that motorcycles and tricycles should not be banned nationwide because doing so would affect the nation’s economy negatively.
Amaechi said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the celebration of the national day of Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairers and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN).
The minister advised state governments not to ban commercial cyclists but train them to reduce their recklessness on the road and ensure strict compliance with rules and regulations.
“I don’t think we should ban Okada because if we do, it will affect the economy; they only need to be trained to obey rules and regulations.
“The issue of security, safety and regulation should be dealt with at the state level; state governments should train Okada riders,’’ Amaechi said.
He urged the operators avoid recklessness and obey traffic rules and regulations in order to reduce the rate of accidents.
According to him, commercial cyclists play vital roles in the transportation sector, especially in transporting agricultural produce where roads are not easily accessible.
“We know you play a vital role in the economy: Not all buses, taxis can access our roads for agricultural purposes; a lot of Nigerians depend on you because your services are cheap.
“The economy cannot only grow through white collar jobs; everybody doesn’t need to depend on government and what you have done is to be self-employed to feed yourselves,’’ the minister said.
Shehu Babangida, National President of ACOMORAN, said that the day was an annual event designed to celebrate the informal sector in Nigeria.
He said the association’s 12 million membership had massively reduced the rate of unemployment and criminality in the country by engaging vulnerable youths.
The ACOMORAN president thanked the minister and former Zamfara governor, Senator Sani Yerima, as well as other dignitaries, for gracing the occasion.