The dawn to dusk curfew imposed on commercial motorcycles also known as Okada, from roads in Sapele metropolis, Sapele Local Government area of Delta State last week is beginning to cause hardship as thousands of commuters struggle to find their way home from their various destinations.
Most of the major roads like Okpe road, Market road, MacPherson road have been crammed with Market women, workers, students and other commuters waiting to catch cabs and Keke to their various places.
Commuter buses and Keke have been having a field day transporting commuters to their various destinations, many of who could have otherwise taken a ride on Okada, the banned commercial motorcycles.
Drivers of the buses and Tricycle riders are however taking advantage of the ban on Okada to hike their fares. Commuters had to pay between N50 and N60 for a drop rather than the N30 usual fee, while a trip from the Market to Amukpe now costs N120 as against N80 previously charged.
Sapele Local Government Council Chairman, Chief Eugene Inoaghan had last week announced a dusk to dawn ban on the use of motorcycles in Sapele metropolis citing security reasons for the ban.
When ADVOCATE visited the Sapele police station, dozens of motorcycles suspected to be seized were sighted, a source at the police station who craved anonymity told Advocate that the motorcycles were were from defaulters who are expected to pay fines, he however decline to specify the amount.
A commuter, who identified himself as Eseoghene, an insurance broker who spoke to Advocate said he leaves work early so that he would be able able to get home to beat the delay occasioned by anticipated traffic jam.
“I always prefer to fly bike to anywhere I am going to. It helps to beat traffic jams and it’s more quicker for me” Eseoghene said.
Hundreds of commuters who could not wait for buses resorted to trekking to their various destinations.
Akpodiete who plies the road with Okada, lamented the restriction on their acactivities. “How do they expect us to meet up, you know these motorcycles were bought for us by other person’s, some by banks how do we pay?” he said.
Meanwhile the Sapele local government boss, Chief Eugene Inoaghan has assured residents of the town to be patient as he continue to find a lasting solution to what he call the menace of these Okada men. The chairman who spoke to Advocate through his Chief Press Secretary, Malcolm Tagbara assured residents of a safer Sapele “We need to take decisions to help all of us, so for now let’s continue to abide by this, but certainly we will come out with a decision, everyone will like” he said