Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says no country desirous of making economic progress relies on importation. Oshiomhole who received representatives of the Stallion Group who were on a courtesy visit to him at the Government House in Benin City, said “Nigeria’s importation of food cannot be defended.”
According to him, “I am not particularly excited about the importation of rice. For me, Nigeria has no business importing rice. If I have the powers I will prohibit rice importation. A nation’s consumption should reflect its ability and Nigeria importing food cannot be defended. We have the capacity to produce enough rice not only for our own consumption but also for export”, he said.
He noted, “the appropriate policy should be one that induces people like your group to produce here rather than import rice. It does not require much effort to import and in terms of our long term development strategy, we must move away from import based to production based economy and create jobs for our people.
“So I will be more excited discussing further how you can be involved in the production rather than providing incentives for you to import more rice. We must review these policies as it applies to importation,” he added.
Oshiomhole noted that there are businesses that are doing very well in Edo State such as palm produce, adding that “if you have interest in this area we would be quite happy to partner with you to produce more for local consumption.”
The Governor expressed displeasure at the Federal Government granting waiver to bring in various items into the country.
He said, “I am also not too happy with the Federal Government granting waiver for people to bring vegetable oil and other forms of oil, when we have enough local capacity. If the price of any commodity is attractive because you prohibit cheap imports, those who want to make money will go into production. That is the only way we are going to create jobs.
“Every day that we are encouraging importation, we are killing jobs, exporting employment, importing unemployment and the concomitant poverty that goes with it.
He assured that Edo state government was ready to give the necessary incentive to the Stallion Group for them to set up oil palm farms in the state
Briefing the Governor earlier on the activities of the group, the Group’s General Manager, Mr. Anil Matthew said they have been operating in Edo State since the past eight years.
He added, “We feel it is time to engage more with the state. We have an auto division which as at now does not have a presence here. We are looking at the possibility of seeing how we can partner with the state and move forward.”
…. Rolls Out Palliatives For Okada Riders,Says No to Keke NAPEP
Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has rolled out palliative measures to cushion the effect of the decision by the State Security Council to ban the use of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, in the state even as he maintained that the decision, even as it was painful to him, was in the interest of the security of the general public in the state.
The Governor also warned that tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP, will not be allowed on highways in the state, even as he said the ban on motorcycles extends to Aduwawa which is Uhunmwode Local Government Area and Oluku and Ekosodin in Ovia North East Local Government Areas which are in the Benin metropolis.
The governor who disclosed this during a meeting with the leadership of the state Okada Riders’ Union at the Government House, said the state government has set up a committee to work out various schemes for the genuine Okada riders, including procuring vehicles.
“Okada riders who were banned from neighbouring states in the North, in the South-South and the South-West, found Edo as a safe haven and were all rushing here in droves. The result is that we now have all kinds of people masquerading as Okada riders. It has become extremely difficult to actually register genuine Okada riders who are in legitimate business.
“Even at this hour, I appreciate the fact that there are many bike riders who are doing very honest job and actually contributing to the social economic life of this state. I am never going to deny that they exist in good numbers.
“But unfortunately, it is also true that more and more people are hiding under bike riding to troop to the state, use the bike for few hours and then use the bike for all sorts of crime including rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, all kinds of things and every week I get reports during security meetings, I get detailed and graphical illustration of how, not just people using bike, but okada riders, some also taking to crime and of course they have not respected any of the things we have agreed to,” he noted.
According to him, “because more people have found Edo state as a dumping place, the number of bikes in the town are probably more than the number of passengers. That has clear implication for pollution, crime and even safety on our roads. We have reflected and asked the question: ‘can we continue to adopt open door policy’? I don’t think there are people in government who can lay claim to be more aware of the employment challenges in the country
much more than myself. We came to the holistic view of the implication of the level of crime arising substantially from the activities of bike riders. It is also clear to me that if the crime profile continues to rise, it is also a clear implication for investment, nobody is going to come to invest here if the number of kidnapping remains on the rise, robbery and other violent crimes.”
The Governor however noted that, “we have a duty to provide for people who have been here doing Okada business without undermining security and so I believe there is no better person to talk to them than the leadership of Okada riders that we have known since 2006. You have been there before I came here. Given that your leadership is never in dispute I believe we can entrust you to give us reliable information and identify those Okada people
who have been here not because they were banned from another state. Those numbers I am sure are a small fraction of the total number of okada people in Edo state today. We want to count on you to identify those genuine okada riders as distinct from those who find this place a dumping ground because in their first place of operation, they have been forced to relocate.”
Comrade Oshiomhole added that: “For those ones I believe we can partner and work out some doable alternatives. If they have interest in transportation we have set up a committee already, which is being chaired by the chairman of our economic team to work out various schemes including procuring vehicles, so that rather than ride on two wheels we have four wheel. No keke NAPEP. We are not going to encourage Keke NAPEP in Edo State, I will
not allow Keke NAPEP to ply our major high ways, and we will not replace two wheels with three wheels. That amounts to celebrating and institutionalizing poverty.”
In his words, “Keke NAPEP is not an alternative to Okada, because of pollution. We will procure buses, the comrade bus as well as taxis. We have opened up discussions with some banks for the taxis, how we can source funds. For those interested in farming, this is an opportunity for them to farm and earn a good living,”
The Governor assured that the pace of action on the remedies being worked on would be delivered quickly so that during the waiting time the members will not encounter undue hardship.
President of the Motorcycle Union, Mr. Peter Adoroh thanked the governor for the decision to deal with the security challenges which have been on due to the migration of criminally minded individuals into the state.
The President of the Motor Cycle Union, Mr. Peter Adoroh thanked the governor for the decision to deal with the security challenges which have been on due to the migration of criminally minded individuals into the state.
“We Okada riders will never do anything detrimental to the peace in the state. We have leant from you not to lament but to face the challenges as they unfold. We saw the security challenge and we tried to do our little best but try as we may we found that the challenges were growing and growing and this was due to migration from other states, not necessary job
migration, criminally minded ones were coming in with all intent and purpose,” he noted
“I know Ghanaians are here, Ivory Coast are here, Burkina Faso are here. If you go to my data that I’ve prepared, you will see them. They come here from as far as Nasarawa.”
According to him, “as you have said those who have reason to be in this state, who have the requisite documents should be accommodated, and those Okada riders from this state should be considered first, because they have been here and they will remain here, they don’t have another place to migrate to.
He urged the Governor to expedite action on the palliatives to cushion the effect of the ban on the displaced Okada riders.