The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it is working hard to get commercial motorcycle operators licensed in the South East notwithstanding stiff opposition from many of them.
The corps made the vow in a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey on why non licensed motorcycle are allowed to operate across the country.
The Sector Commander of FRSC, Enugu State Command, Mr Joseph Toby, told NAN that measures taken to enforce compulsory rider’s license for commercial motorcycle operator had been characterised by stiff opposition and at times outright violence.
According to him, although commercial motorcycles do not operate in the three council areas that make up the state’s metropolis, but truly it has not been easy for our unit offices in the suburbs to get them willing to comply.
“It is not easy as most of them do not reason much about safety as most city dwellers do. As a corps, we have been met with stiff opposition and outright violence trying to make them comply.
“We will never give up on the issue. We are working with their various unions through lots of enlightenment to see how to persuade them to do the right thing by obtaining their rider’s license.
“We are exposing them to the legal implications of not riding with a license especially if there is an accident.
“One, if a person rides without a rider’s license and there is an accident, the law sees it that the rider without a license is automatically at fault.
“Likewise, if an accident leads to death of someone, the rider is charged with murder for not having his authorisation to ply the road which is the rider’s license,” he explained.
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary of the Enugu State Ministry of Transport, Mr Ogbonna Idike, said that the rider’s license remained an important instrument that could serve other purposes such as identification and for financial transactions.
“Apart from obtaining the rider’s license, the ministry is always emphasising on commercial motorcycle riders being conversant with the road signs and regulations to stem the rate of accidents.
“The ministry organises regular trainings for commercial motorcycle riders, locally known as “Okada”, for them to imbibe good road habits, ride with care and ensure safety of themselves and their passengers,” Idike said.
NAN reports that commercial motorcyclists operate within the suburbs and rural areas of the state.
In Anambra, the FRSC said it synergised with the state government to check the trend of unregistered motorcycles and unlicensed riders especially commercial motorcycle riders.
Mr Adeoye Irelewuyi, FRSC Commander in the state, said there had been strict enforcement since the state government in July, 2018, banned the use of motorcycles for commercial transportation across Anambra.
“The trend of motorcycles plying the highways is minimal here in Anambra because of the ban on commercial motorcycle riders.
“The ban is aimed at improving the security situation in the state and to curtail criminal activities often perpetrated using motorcycles.
“But there are still some riders who go against the law and when we apprehend motorcycle without proper registration we impound the motorcycle.
“Also, when we arrest riders without license, we booked them for license offence which is N10, 000,” he said.
Irelewuyi urged motorcyclists in the state to ensure proper registration of their motorcycles, saying that government would not tolerate unregistered motorcycles on the highways.
However, some commercial motorcyclists who operate in the hinterlands told NAN, that they did not take the licensing serious due to the ban on commercial motorcycles in the state.
A commercial motorcyclist, Mr Uche Egwim, who plies Isuaniocha route in Awka North, said he did not get a rider’s license because there was low enforcement in the hinterlands.
“Nobody is enforcing the registration or licensing of riders here in the remote areas, so I did not see the need to get a rider’s license,” he said.
Angus Ani, another commercial motorcyclist, said he was not making enough money in the remote area, hence he could not afford to get a rider’s license.
“I remit about N3,000 to the owner of this bike on daily basis, and some days I do not make up to N3,000 due to the nature of this area. I have a family to cater for too. So, the rider’s license is the least of my worries,” he said.
In Imo, non-licensed motorcyclists, who failed to obtain Riders License will pay N10,000 as caution fees, Sector Commander of the corps in the state, Mr Joshua Adekanye has said.
Motorcyclists are however, advised to obtain their riders license from FRSC and other relevant papers from the state’s Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Adekanye explained that Imo had a peculiar case because commercial motorcyclists were restricted from operating within the metropolis of the state.
He admitted that motorcyclists were allowed to operate within the rural axis of the state, but informed that FRSC launched a manhunt against non-licensed motorcyclists in the state.
Adekanye added that those arrested for non-compliance to license were made to pay fine of N10,000 being a caution fee.
He said the measures being put in place to check the menace had yielded good result as accident rate caused by motorcyclists in the state had reduced.
He noted that the command organised sensitization through seminars and road shows to enlighten both drivers and motorcycle operators in Imo on the need to obtain license.
“Yes, we are aware that some motorcycle operators are riding without license, but I can assure you that we have not relented on the development.
“We will continue to do our best to ensure the safety of the society, but this can only be achieved with the support of road stakeholders,” he said.
The Nekede branch Chairman of the Motorcyclist Association in Imo, Mr Onyema Ogam told NAN that only few of its members operate with license.
He attributed failure of acquiring operational license to hardship and poor awareness.
“I’m aware that government has made it compulsory for motorcyclists operating in Imo to be licensed.
“Our members are very poor, together with poor awareness, that is why most of them prefer to cut corners in my own jurisdiction,” he said.
When asked how much it cost to obtain operational license and other papers, Ogam said “it cost up to N18,000 to obtain all the necessary documents.
“I have advised my members to update themselves and avoid paying a caution fee of N10,000, if eventually apprehended,” he added.
However, he appealed to government to cut down the price of motorcycle license, adding that such gesture would encourage more members to apply for the license.
Meanwhile, the FRSC in Ebonyi has planned to have a special operations using mobile court to check non licenced operators in the state.
Mr Anthony Okore, the FRSC Sector Commander in the state, said that non licenced motorcyclists and tricyclists were not allowed to operate in the state without being checked.
He revealed that the measure would reduce their menace in the state.
According to him, they were supposed to obtain their Class A licence which is about N5, 350.
“We have mapped out plans to have a special operations on this, using the mobile court.
“We recently had a meeting with their leaders on this particular issue because licence is their legal document to be on the road, so without it, they are going against the law.
“We do contravene them and must check against the menace,” Okore said.
Mr Sunday Nweke, a motorcyclist, alleged that the electronic data capturing of drivers licence is posing a lot of challenges.
“I paid, data taken, but yet to be captured. It takes a lot of time before one succeeds,” Nweke said.
Mrs Nkechi Livinus, a female motorcyclist, also claimed that she had paid and her data taken, but she was yet to be captured.
“We were issued temporal licence but over one year now, they have not been able to capture us.
“The difficulty experienced now was not like this in the past,” Livinus said. (NAN)