A mild drama played out yesterday at the Ondo State secretariat in Akure, as protesting commercial motorcyclists, also known as Okada riders chased out the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Nicholas Tofowomon, from his office.
The Okada riders, who stormed the office of the commissioner at about 3.30pm, were protesting the state government’s new policy on number plate, which enforced the use of new number plate at the cost of N6000.
The protesters had forced themselves into the commissioner’s office despite heavy security mounted at the office.
The commercial motorcyclists, under the aegis of the Amalgamated
Commercial Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) also grounded commercial activities in the city, as they prevented vehicular movements in major parts of the city.
The protesters also forced taxi and bus drivers to join the protest as they marched round major streets in the city.
It, however, took the combined efforts of armed policemen and soldiers deployed to strategic locations in the city to douse the tension created by the protest.
Addressing the protesters, a leader of the association in the state, Mr. Bayo Adekunle, alleged that the state government came up with an anti-people policy of banning old number plates aside the ones from the state used by commercial motorcyclists.
Adekunle said officials of the state task force from the Ministry of Transport were also using the opportunity to extort many of their members in all parts of the state.
“They started arresting our members who did not get the number plates and were forced to pay N6000, including a compulsory fee of N2000 for the Residency Card known as Kaadi Igbeayo,” he added.
Reacting, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr, Tofowomo, said the action of the state government was to guide against all forms of criminality among Okada riders in the state.