Commercial motorcycle riders in Benue State has appealed to Governor Samuel Ortom to appoint some of their members who are university graduates into his cabinet to enable them have a sense of belonging in the society.
The group popularly referred to as “Okada riders” made the appeal through its umbrella body, the Benue Motorcycle Hirers Association (BENMOHA) when they visited the Government House in Makurdi on Tuesday.
The State Chairman of BENMOHA, Comrade Patrick Agera, urged the governor to appoint one of them as Senior Special Assistant on Okada matters to assist in intelligence gathering in order to improve security across the state.
Agera posited that okada business had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development as well as youth employment in the state but regretted that successive governments over the years had not given the sector any due recognition.
“We were the actual people who canvass for support, vote for politicians who seek elective positions, contribute to nation building yet people are misinformed about us just because we were not given opportunity to serve in any capacity of government.
“Therefore, give us the opportunity to serve and we are ready to redeem the bad image which Okada riders are known for,” he said.
The chairman added that Okada riders are not armed robbers or kidnappers as referred to in some quarters.
He stressed that among them were learned, educated and qualified graduates who, if given opportunity to serve in any capacity in government, would excel.
Responding, the governor who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Col. Paul Hemba (retired), lamented that Okada riders had suffered so much attacks in the hands of militia herders and other criminal elements more than any other people in the state.
Hemba therefore charged them to be security conscious and be ready to always report any suspicious strange faces to the appropriate authorities.