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'Okada' Riders Demand Recognition
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Commercial motor riders popularly known as ‘Okada’ have reiterated their appeal to have the ban on their trade lifted so that government can regulate the system to allow them stay in business.

They have also asked government to help them form a union.

The riders who are seen in some parts of the capital city are accusing the police of extortion. In February this year, about 400 Okada riders petitioned parliament requesting that the legislative instrument 47 which banned the Okada practice be amended to regularize their trade but their plea was rebuffed.

Their activities have been described as dangerous and nuisance. Some of the riders in spite of their ban are still in brisk business as they still maintain it is their only source of livelihood.

“Because of the ban the police are always demanding money from us, when you come here you will have to hide and work, if there was any source of employment I wouldn’t come here to do this , the job is risky but the government doesn’t want to help us. ” said one Okada rider.

The bikers however maintain that commercializing the motor bikes has become their only source of income since there are no job offers.

Another rider, formerly a carpenter, said that the Okada work provids enough to cater to the needs of his family. Meanwhile, passengers who patronize the Okada services say it’s the best mode of transportation for them as they beat traffic in the day. “A taxi or a trotro will get you to your destination in about 30 minutes while an Okada can do that in 15 minutes; it is also easier because of the traffic” a passenger said.

Another passenger pointed out that although it was not the best of conditions, it provided some kind of employment for youth.

There are also those who argue that the use of the Okada would be more beneficial in the more rural areas instead of cosmopolitan parts.
Others however want the law on its use tightened because the bikers have no insurance cover and more importantly, pose a danger to pedestrians.
Source: citifmonline. com

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