By Odumodu Gbulagu

When Governor Willie Obiano banned the activities of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called OKADA in Anambra state, I wrote that the ban was ill informed, and would bring high rate of crime in the state.

The reason why the ban was ill timed was because there was no clear cut plan for integrating hundreds of those Okada operators into another trade, or any means of livelihood; and there was no plan to cushion the fallout of the ban.

I suggested a partial ban because Anambra state is the Home of Okada, as most importers and manufacturers of motorcycles in Nigeria have their companies in Nnewi, and that makes it hard for a full ban on Okada in the state.

Some people argued that since it was done in Lagos, and other states in the Southeast, that it’s a must in Anambra.

Those people have a poor grasp of the economy of their state, and they find it difficult to understand why some policies may work in some environment, but can’t work in others.

They also don’t understand why some policies shouldn’t be hastily implemented without a proper plan, as the fallout should be considered, and alternatives provided.

In Anambra, the Governor thinks more about the praises that such policy will elicit, and not the implications of the fallout.

As always, the paid agents of the state government swarmed on me, calling me a hater of good thing and an enemy of the state.
The rate of crime has skyrocketed, and those people that insulted me are the ones complaining and shouting on top of their voices now.

In Awka alone, Few weeks ago, a young girl who was going for early morning exercise was stabbed to death by criminals in an attempt to snatch her phone.
2 days ago, a young man was viciously stabbed multiple times on his way to work in an attempt to rob him
There are many more cases like this, as people keep recounting their ordeals.

Burglary has increased, as houses are burgled on daily basis and valuables carted away.
Shops are not spared too.
People have been trailed from banks and the money they withdrew robbed at gun point.
Cultism is also on the increase.

In Onitsha, Upper Iweka has upgraded from what it used to be.
There’s “one chance” buses now, which the occupants are armed with POS with which they force their victims to part with their bank cards and passwords, and are pushed away from moving vehicles when they are done robbing them.
Okpoko, Awada, and other areas are still the same.
Touts have also taken over the markets in Onitsha, intimidating and harassing people at will.

Crime and criminality is closely associated with unemployment and underemployment.
It is said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
You can’t take away a person’s means of livelihood without providing an alternative, and expect him not to take on crimes.
The buses that the government promised the Okada operators, and which they made money deposits have gone down the drain, just like the numerous MOUs signed by Governor Willie.
It’s over 1 year now, yet nothing.

Governor Willie Obiano should forget about the grand illusion of Anambra being the safest state in Nigeria.
He should get to work, as our State has upgraded from what it used to be as far as crime is concerned.
His advisers do not tell him the truth, rather they sing his praises to high heavens because they know it’s what he wants to hear.

For the sake of Anambra, and the masses, the time to act is now!

Odumodu Gbulagu can be reached on: