From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Almalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), has warned that the proposed ban of commercial motorcycles throughout the country as part of measures to tackle security challenges, will not only throw 40 million Nigerians into the job market, it will create a worst monster behind terrorism.
Recall that the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, had announced that the National Security Council, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, had explained that government might be compelled to ban the use of motorcycles and mining activities as it has been discovered to be a major means of movement by bandits and source of amassing ransom from kidnap victims.
Malami had added that those using motorcycles as means of transport were not up to 20 percent of the country’s population, adding that if that percentage is made to sacrifice “I think that sacrifice is not too much and is worthy of being considered”.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, the National President of ACOMORAN, Samsudeen Apelogun, noted that their membership base stands at 12 million nationwide, with 6 million adequately registered.
He urged the Federal Government to jettison the idea of banning the use of motorcycles nationwide, as it would be counter productive on the long run.
Apelogun equally warned of the economic and security implications, saying besides impoverishing millions of Nigerians, it would further compound the anti-social vices government is trying to contain.
The leadership of ACOMORAN said the government lacks effective security architecture, hence should overhaul their intelligence gathering mechanism, rather than creating another monster that will ultimately add salt to the injury.
Apelogun said, “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 percent 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.”
The ACOMORAN president, provided some practical ideas on how to fight criminality.
“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 gain-fully emplpyed 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 drive or ply their trades as well as provide security agencies, especially the police that is in change of the enforcement of law and order with the need d tools and motivation. To work, the rate of criminality will drastically drop to a minimal level.”