Dear friends, everything considered, we have resolved as a government, effective from Monday the 17th of June 2013, bike riders will not be allowed to operate in any part of Oredo, Ikpoba Okha and Egor Local Government Areas of Edo State. These three local governments constitute the heart of Benin City. The law enforcement agencies have been informed accordingly and directed to strictly enforce this law.There are confirmed cases of Okada riders who have been involved in kidnapping and other forms of violent crimes including robbery. We have tried as a government over the years to take steps to counsel Okada riders to observe certain codes, to watch out and ensure that criminals do not infiltrate their ranks and hide under commercial vehicles to perpetrate crime. It is clear to me now that we have not been particularly successful in this regard. More and more Okada riders have been found to be involved in various acts of violent crimes. Also, more than eighty percent of accident victims in the hospitals are bike riders, we cannot continue like this. I therefore reached the painful conclusion that it is time to do something and we cannot postpone it further.
Because of the influx of bike riders, arising from the decision of some of our neighbouring states where bike riders have been prohibited, Edo State has become a safe haven for all manners of bike riders and because they do not get enough commercial patronage, some bike riders have resorted to crime to sustain a living while posing to be bike riders.
I am convinced that we cannot allow this situation to continue. While I am very concerned about the fact of the level of unemployment in the country, and in Edo state we have our own fair share of unemployment, I am convinced that the long term interest of job creation requires that you attract investors and investment to the state. It is a settled issue that investors will not be in a hurry to go to any state that the level of crime has risen beyond acceptable level.
I am not in doubt that there are many Okada riders who are not criminals and they have no criminal intentions. I am also convinced that there are many Okada riders who are into legitimate business, unfortunately there isn’t any mechanism for us to distinguish criminals who are also bike operators and decent citizens who are doing their very best to cope with the rigours of life, this is just one sacrifice we all have to make to make our state safer. Thanks for your understanding and continuous support.