Billy Graham Abel, Yola
An Adamawa legal practitioner, Sunday Joshua Wugira, threatening legal action, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Adamawa State Police Commissioner Audu Madaki, asking him to rescind his ban on commercial transport motorcycles, tying the ban to the death of three persons and several injuries.
Wugira alleges that both the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, have trampled on the rights of Nigerians and the people of Adamawa to free movement and association already provided for by the Constitution of the country; and that the police acted illegally by not seeking the approval of both the executive and the legislature on an issue that has an impact on the economy and well being of the people.
Wugira made the remarks Monday in an exclusive chat with Daily Sun.
While the police possess within its right the power to restrict movement temporarily in order to address a particular security concern, Wugira said, it lacks the power to restrict movement perpetually to the point of causing grievous social and economic dislocation by its action.
Wugira explained that the imposition of a ban on transport motorcycles by the police infringes on the rights of ordinary Nigerians, and specifically the people of Adamawa, who rely on the mode of transportation to carry out their day-to-day activities; and that the ban could lead to more loss of lives because emergencies like child delivery in most local communities are aided by transport motorcycles; with economic activities like farming and trading among other activities facilitated by this mode of transport.
He says that the life of ordinary Adamawans have been made difficult by the ban, especially the lives of the poor who use transport motorcycles to conduct their daily business and agricultural activities.
“The question we should ask is, does the Commissioner of Police have the power under the law for whatever reason to impose a ban on the use of motorcycles?
“He does not have the power because when he issues such a ban, it infringes on the right of movement which has been guaranteed under the law.
“He has the power to proffer solutions to the security of the state, but can he impose a ban without both the legislature and the executive accenting to it?” Wugira challenges.
He said, “This ban has far reaching consequences on the life of the people, especially in emergency situations, such as women in delivery and a host of other economic and social activities that are conducted in our local communities on motorcycles.
“Yes, he has the interest of the state, yes kidnappers use it for their evil acts, but that does not give him the power to unilaterally impose a ban that could cripple the economic and social activity of the state.
“Look at what ultimately happened in Gurin, where three lives were lost and several others injured as I reliably gathered.
“Primitive solutions cannot put a stop to the problems we have,” he said.
“Kidnappers and criminals use motorcycles but they also wear clothes, should we stop wearing clothes? They eat food, would we stop eating so that kidnappers go hungry? They use cars, are we going to stop driving cars?
“I am using this medium to give him a seven-day ultimatum to reverse his decision, it is undemocratic and reprehensible,” the lawyer declared.
“There are laws that govern this country and the IGP does not have the power to ban motorcycles because it affects the well-being of the people.
“While we call on the people to be law-abiding, I am sure the people will fight for their rights and I will be instituting legal action on behalf of the people of the state.
“I will be submitting a letter to the Commissioner of Police Monday challenging the illegal act and the police must reverse its decision.”