Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has commissioned a hundred units of Suzuki cars procured by Ikpoba Okha Local Government of the state for distribution to former motorcycle riders who were banned from operating in the area.
Speaking at the ceremony, Oshiomhole also said that the Ministry of Transport has been directed to ensure that all vehicles old or new used for commercial purposes are painted in the taxi colour approved by the State Government.
The Governor said “the value of these vehicles shows how a local government can complement the efforts of the state government. It was my lot to try to take into account the overall interest of our state, I found myself having to reverse myself when I announced the banning of Okada. It was not the best mode of transportation and for many of us who have travelled to other parts realised that it remains a shame”.
“But I had offered to support them because they were my allies during the struggle to reclaim my mandate. When the interest of the overall security of the state compelled me to reverse myself and to invest my political capital in order to enhance the security of the state, I had to take the painful but inevitable decision to ban the use of motorbike for commercial purposes in the three core local government that constitute the heart of Benin City.
“I did promise that we would try to provide palliative jobs for okada riders as well as take long term decision to increase the fleet of the Comrade buses and provide cars for the original okada riders. We are still working on that, so for me it was a brilliant surprise when the Chairman of the local government invited me to come and commission these taxis. I am not ashamed to say that you have worked faster than me” he said.
He said “let me use this opportunity to remind those who have bought private cars for commercial purpose to ensure that such cars wear taxi colour approved by the State Government.
“From now on, the task force and the police are advised that any vehicle that is not registered for commercial purpose or painted with commercial taxi colour will not be allowed to ply the roads of the state. If they do, they will be arrested and prosecuted according to the law and the vehicle impounded”, he added.
The Governor congratulated the Chairman and leadership of the party in the local government for putting the resources of the local government to judicious use.
Earlier in her address, the Chairman of the local government, Hon Itohan Osahon-Ogbeide said the presentation of the cars to the displaced Okada riders would be in two phases, adding the first phase is the flag off of the 100 Suzuki taxis sponsored by the Ikpoba Okha Local Government in collaboration with the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria.
She said the local administration has built primary schools, provided seats and tables to pupils and teachers, transformers to boost electricity in the various wards in the council area.
Mrs. Itohan-Ogbeide said the choice of the Suzuki taxis was based on the cost effectiveness, ruggedness and the three years warranty by the manufacturers.