Socio political organisations, Afenifere; Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), and Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), have warned the Federal Government not to carry out its proposed plan to place a nationwide ban on commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada across the country.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami who briefed the press alongside the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Minister of Police affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, said that after the National Security Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, it was decided that a nationwide proposed ban on commercial motorcycle would help check terrorism in the country.
According to Sun News, the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, MBF and AYCF have noted that the Federal Government’s proposal was akin to chasing shadows while leaving the substance unattended. The groups accused the Federal Government of insincerity in the war against terror, and charged the government to direct the security agencies to go after the terrorists in their camps rather than place a blanket ban on motorcycle transportation, which they noted would further aggravate hunger and insecurity in the country.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Chidozie Alex Ogbonnia noted that motorcycle ban would worsen insecurity because of the large number of youths who depend on daily earnings riding motorcycles will be jobless.
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the government is not serious about terrorism fight. He described the proposed ban as another evidence that deep or scientific thinking does not characterise how decisions are arrived at in the corridors of power.
The publication added that Afenifere further indicted the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola of failing to act on credible intelligence report that Kuje Correctional Centre was to be attacked.
President of MBF, Dr Pogu Bitrus, said: “A blanket ban on motorcycles will not solve the problem. The Federal Government knows the locations of terrorists’ camps, so why not root them from those camps? However a ban could be necessary in places that are known to be notorious for terrorists operating on motorcycles. Motorcycles and tricycles are used to transport people and goods in rural areas, so it is better for the Federal Government to root out the terrorists from their camps, which they already know.”
The publication stated that the President of AYCF, Yerima Shettima argued that a blanket ban on motorcycles nationwide will be counter productive as a high number of youths depend on it for survival.