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Protesting Okada riders ground activities in Ota over alleged compulsory riders permit

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Protesting Okada riders in Ota yesterday PHOTO: GBENGA AKINFENWA


Commercial and vehicular activities were yesterday grounded, in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Council Area, Ogun State, as commercial motorcyclists popularly called Okada, blocked major roads in the area over alleged imposition of riders permit by council officials.
 
The Guardian learnt Okada riders converged on the old NITEL Warehouse, where they claimed officials of the council kept motorcycles seized from their members for failure to receive riders permits. 
 
They displayed placards with different inscriptions, barricaded the Awolowo way linking the ILO-Awela road, close to the Secretariat, thereby hindering free flow of traffic in the area.  
   
It was observed that protesters forced other riders to join in the protest, as they barricaded roads and restricted road users to the middle of the roads.  
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Shop owners, on seeing the protesters hurriedly locked their shops as the protesters burst into protest songs, moving from roads to roads.

Majority of commuters heading towards the council Secretariat, Oju-Ore, Canaan land, Lafenwa, Itele and beyond, were stranded as the entire stretch was deserted.
 
One of the riders, Akeem Ogun, said since the newly elected council officials came on board weeks ago, they have made life unbearable for them in the name of generating revenue for the council.
 
“Our motorcycles are seized on a daily basis and all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Things are hard in the country and we are still in August, they should bear with us. We voted them into office but they shouldn’t make life unbearable for us. We are doing this to register our grievances for them to stop adding to our hardship.”
   
When the council was contacted, they confirmed the protest. Mr. Aleshinloye Ademoye, who spoke to The Guardian on phone on behalf of the information officer, said the protesters did not come to the council to make any official complaint. 
The council can only issue a statement  after the protesters file a complaint.  
 
“We have not seized any motorcycles. You know tax collection has been ceded to the state government, so the state is in control of the riders permit; probably that’s why they have not approached us. But if they do, I will get back to you.

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“We are aware that they are nuisance on the roads but the law enforcement agents have been informed to douse the tension, that is what we can do from our own end. Until they come to the council officially, we cannot assume what their grievances are,” he said.
 
Recall that a fortnight ago, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Afolabi Afuape, warned the newly elected council officials to desist from unnecessary taxation in the name of revenue generation.
 
Afuape, who stated this at the July 2021 edition of the Statutory Joint Account Allocation Committee meeting with new chairmen, said the practice of unnecessary taxation could cause disharmony between citizens and government.
 
He enjoined them to complement efforts of the state government, aimed at improving the welfare of the people and translate policies and programmes of Dapo Abiodun-led administration to reality.
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NITELOkada riders
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