Commercial motorcyclists otherwise called Okada riders in Aba, Abia State have appealed to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to rescue them from illegal extortion by officials of the state Ministry of Transport. Making the appeal, the motorcyclists said the extortion affected almost all their units in areas they were permitted to operate in Aba. They listed the worst hit areas as Zion by East Street and the Obohia/ Nkwor Ngwa Market units. They also decried the imposition of non-members as leaders by the Ministry of Transport, which they claimed had resulted in attacks on their members, leading to serious injuries.
The spokesman for the two affected units, Mr. Okechukwu John, said the untold hardship which the new government-imposed leadership of the association led by Chief Agu Eke had subjected them to was unbearable. John said that the Eke-led executive had not only increased their daily levy or what they called tickets, from N100, as approved by the NURTW, to N600, but also introduced a new daily levy of N500 for road rehabilitation.
According to the motorcyclists, the use of thugs by the governmentimposed leadership has not only brought crises to the units, known for peace, but has also led to an increase in crime.Consequently, they appealed to the NURTW which, according to them, is a professional trade union to intervene and see to their welfare, instead of the Abia Ministry of Transport “which prefers using touts”. The state NURTW Chairman, Eugene Eze, could not be reached on his phone for gis reaction to the allegations.