Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Most Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor joined in condemning the recent ban of commercial motorcycle operators, otherwise known as Okada in Awka and Onitsha by the Anambra state government describing it as deadly.
The Bishop was speaking St Stephen Anglican Church, Osumenyi in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra state during the pre synod briefing for the first session of the 4th synod of Amichi Anglican diocese.
It would be recalled that the state government after the State Executive Council meeting, last month, directed Okada riders to withdraw their services by July 1st, 2018 in Onitsha and Awka respectively, a directive she said is in the best interest of the state and the people.
The ban, according to the government, was part of government resolve to crackdown on crime and criminalities and restore sanity in the state.
But Bishop Ikeakor, in his reaction, said that such policy will rather increase crime rate in the state and suggested limiting their scope of operation in Onitsha and Awka rather than outright ban.
“I am still worried, because the level of criminality that we may experience in this state, we may not survive it If we ban this okada without alternative means of livelihood.
“Anambra is pure business area. May be, what he should have done was to limit their scope of operations in those cities or in some federal roads axis or other similar roads, that will be understandable. But baning them at places like Nibo, Agu-Awka, Nise, Amawbia axis and where students live, I think, we are trying to chew the corn that we cannot vomit.
“My advice is that Anambra state government should not rush the implementation of that policy of banning okada in Awka and Onitsha. It is very deadly for Anambrarians” he said.
The prelate however threw his weight behind Governor Willie Obiano’s demolition of shanties and illegal structures across the state, adding that the governor’s action is in line with the master plan of the state.
“One problem we have in Africa, particularly in Nigeria is when we institutionalise indiscipline. Somebody that is coming for sanity becomes a wicked person. If you go to other developed countries of the world and see the way things are organised, you will enjoy it. We have master plan in Anambra state and people never wanted to use it.
Everybody is shouting that the government is wicked, I can only join in that condemnation if I have a master plan of an area where the government is demolishing that does not correspond to the master plan arrangement.
“That is when I will say that the government is wicked. You don’t run democracy on sentiment and emotion, if you must do the right thing, you must step on toes, So, I cannot condemn it until I get evidence that there are legal structures that was demolished, but if not, we must demolish to establish the right thing” he stated.
Speaking on the theme of the 2018 synod, “Thou shalth not steal”, the fiery preacher expressed worry on the rate at which stealing has permeated through the church and warned Christians to desist from such ungodly life style.
He also noted that politicians who embezzle public fund did not only steal but have prepared a hell fire for themselves, adding that a married man or woman who sleeps with another is stealing.
“Stealing is obtaining what does not belong to you without permission and this can be seen in government cycle among politicians, in churches among clergy and the entire Christendom, in families among parents and children and stealing can only be stopped when we accept Christ as our personal lord and saviour” he said.