Following the disclosure last week by the federal government of its plan to ban the distribution and use of motorcycles in the country to curtail terrorist movement, the Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), has warned against the action, noting that government should rather rejig the security architecture to make it for effective in protecting citizens.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the National President of ACOMORAN, Samsudeen Apelogun, said banning motorcycles will not only compound insecurity in the country but will throw 40 million more Nigerians into the unemployment market.
Recall that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had announced that the National Security Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, is contemplating more measures to tackle the worsening insecurity including the ban on motorcycles and mining activities.
He had explained that government is intent on impeding the movement of terrorists and cutting off their sources of funds.
The Minister justified that ban by pointing out that those using motorcycles as means of transport are not up to 20 per cent of the country’s population, noting, “I think that sacrifice is not too much and is worthy of being considered”.
While noting that commercial motorcycles operators in the country are 12 million strong with 6 million registered, Apelogun likened the ban to “killing a fly with a sledgehammer,” noting that the measure will create a bigger monster than the country is currently dealing with.
While warning of the economic and security implications, he stated that government lacks effective security architecture, necessitating the need to overhaul the intelligence gathering mechanism, rather than “adding insult to the injury.”
The ACOMORAN president stated: “Commuters see motorcycles as a relief to their transportation problems while motorcycle riders see their adventure as a source of livelihood. Without a doubt, the use of motorcycles has enhanced mobility for the middle and income earners which by extension has contributed to an increase in production through an increase in man-hours.
“Let me put it on record that from experience, 95 per cent of those you see riding motorcycles are doing it because they don’t have better options but they don’t want to take to crime.
“If 10 million of these 40 million people they plan to render jobless take to crime, can the government contain them? If you attribute the movement of terrorists to motorcycles, don’t criminals operate with vehicles? When terrorists regrettably attacked Kuje prison, was it the motorcycle riders that caused the failure of intelligence gathering?
“If they rode motorcycles there, how were they able to beat all the security checkpoints to get to such a fortified facility? Was it motorcycles that made it possible for them to overpower the security agents attached to the facility? Are motorcycles also responsible for the late re-enforcement?”
Apelogun advised the government, which he noted is at its twilight, “to concentrate on how to alleviate the agonies of the citizenry against this move that will further compound their pains.”
On practical steps to fight criminality in the country he added: “First, the government should revive the economy for businesses to thrive. Today, the naira exchanges at N630 to a US Dollar, and this deal a terrible blow to businesses.
“The epileptic natures of our power supply have grounded many small-scale industries thereby making it difficult for artisans to operate. If a solution is found to power supply today, I am very confident that many of the youths who are involved in criminality will be gainfully employed or engaged.
“In summary, if the government can provide a stable power supply, organize the Bank of Transportation to cater to the transportation sector, revive our economy, make naira exchange at a reasonable rate against the dollar and other foreign currencies, provide infrastructure and an enabling environment for businesses and investors to thrive or ply their trades as well as provide security agencies, especially the police that is in charge of the enforcement of law and order with the needed tools and motivation to work, the rate of criminality will drastically drop to a minimal level.”
He further said that the association has developed an App that will capture the data of all its members and as well make it easy to track any of them involved in criminality.
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