From Emmanuel Iyoho
An Abuja-based legal practitioner has urged the Federal Government to reconsider its decision on banning motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada, saying the ban will worsen the economic situation in the country.
Mr Ubong Emmanuel, an Akwa Ibom-born lawyer, while reacting to the proposed nationwide ban of motorcycles by the Federal Government, said rather than the outright ban of Okada, which is also a means of transportation, there was need by the government to engage modern ways of fighting crimes and terrorism across Nigeria.
He listed such measures to include: collaboration between security agencies, intelligence gathering and provision of job opportunities for unemployed Nigerians, among others.
“There are better ways of fighting crimes and terrorism such as collaboration between the security agencies, intelligence gathering, provision, provision of job opportunities, making the striking University teaching and non-teaching staff to return to the classrooms and rewarding hard work and innovation to mention a few.
“I will advise the Federal government to consider other measures of coping national insecurity rather than banning Okada. The later act will worsen the situation and consequences may be too grave and irreversible, Emmanuel told The Pioneer in an exclusive chat, recently.
He urged the government to honour its campaign promises rather than considering a ban on Okada, describing it as means of transportation for the survival of some unemployedNigerians.
“I know that the government has the power and authority to do anything that is necessary within the provisions of the law to ensure national security, safety of lives and properties, but it is our expectation that it be done reasonably.”
The current administration promised during its campaign to create jobs and not to take away jobs. The government should keep to their promises by creating jobs because Nigerians are still waiting.
“If Okada is banned today, there are so many villages and routes that are not accessible or motorable; there are so many villages and suburban areas that the roads are so narrow that it can only be accessed by Okada; there are so many villages that there is no single tricycle or Keke NAPEP; so how will people in those environments survive?” Emmanuel asked, albeit rhetorically.
The lawyer further called on the federal and state governments as well as political leaders in the country to be compassionate in policy formulation and implantation.
Emmanuel urged governments to ensure that they provide better alternative means of transportation construct the dilapidated roads and create jobs for the teeming population, adding that imposing a ban on Okada at this time withoutprovision of palliative measures is rather unfortunate.
Recall that the National Security Council not long ago announced that it was considering a nationwide ban on motorcycles and mining activities in the country as part of its strategy to curb terrorist activities, checkmate loopholes and cut off their sources of funding.
This followed the outcome of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja in a bid to combat insecurity in the country.
Addressing state house correspondents after the meeting chaired by the president, the attorney-general of the Federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami stated that investigations were still ongoing especially to establish the correlation between mining and motorcycles which they suspect provide funding for the supply of arms to the terrorists.