The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on Thursday said that the Federal Government has deliberated on several approaches for containing insecurity in the country, amongst which is a national ban on commercial motorcycles, popularly known as okada.
Abubakar Malami was speaking after the national security council meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.
In addition to a nationwide ban on okada, the chief law officer of Nigeria also said that a ban on mining activities was also deliberated upon in a bid to stem the rising insecurity across the country.
He said investigation revealed that okada were used for mining activities across the country and the ban could cut off sources of funds of terrorists and bandits.
The minister, who flanked by his Interior and Police Affairs counterparts, Rauf Aregbesola and Mohammed Dingyadi, said the meeting focused on the logistics used by the terrorists to stop their activities.
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Malami said the motorcycles were used by the bandits for movement, while mining provides them the money to fund their arms supply.
On whether the government would consider the implications of the ban of motorcycles and mining activities on ordinary Nigerians and the economy, the minister said the federal government would place national and public interests above individual interests.
“Placing a ban on the use of motorcycles and mining activities will cut the supply of logistics to the terrorists. This will be done in the national interest,” he said.
“We are Nigerians because Nigeria as a country exists and any issue that will translate into a threat to national security or the corporate existence of the country requires certain sacrifices.
“So, regardless of the means that is being considered for the possible banning, this is a sacrifice that we see as what will help address the security challenges and I think no sacrifice is too big as far as that issue is concerned.
“Above all, if you are talking of banning motorcycles, for example, I think the number of people using these motorcycles is not up to 20 percent of the Nigerian population.
“So if that percentage is called to make a sacrifice that is all-pervading or affecting over 200 million Nigerians, I think that sacrifice is not too much and is worthy of being considered.”
It remains to be seen how the M. Buhari led Federal Government will implement such a ban, given the enormous number of youths that make their living from riding okada.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur
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