The proposed ban on motorcycles in Nigeria has become a possible solution to tackle the menace of insecurity in the country. The Lagos State government recently banned the use of commercial motorcycles (okada) in six local government areas in the state and recorded a drop in violence in those areas. Taking a cue from the Lagos state’s result, the Zamfara State government on Monday announced a ban on motorcycles in Gusau town from 8pm to 6am.
The federal government of Nigeria recently disclosed the possibility of a nationwide ban on motorcycles to fight the rising concerns of insecurity around the country. As a result, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) issued a statement ordering all 37 Sector Commanders in the country to impound any motorcycle with an unregistered National Vehicle Identification Scheme.
But would a ban on motorcycles tackle the worsening security crisis in the country?
State of play
The federal government of Nigeria identified the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation by terrorists to invade communities and towns in which they wreck despicable havoc.
On the flip side, statistics released by the president of ACOMORAN (Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria), Alhaji Adebayo Samsudeen, show that over 40 million Nigerians out of the country’s over 200 million population use commercial motorcycles as a source of livelihood.
A former Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf identified a flaw in the proposed ban on motorcycles in that Nigerians would continue to need “okada” as long as inaccessible roads and hard-to-reach areas continue to exist. He proposed that the federal government, through the security agencies, should identify “areas where motorcycles do pose the greatest risk and the effects of the ban on them.”
Another expert, Mr. Salaam, Head of Department of Transport Technology and Infrastructure at Lagos State University, said in an interview that instead of outrightly banning motorcycles they can introduce an electronic hailing system which identifies the riders of each motorcycle on the road.
Some other analysts believe that rather than ban motorcycles, thereby taking away Nigerians’ source of livelihood, Nigeria’s security agencies should be proactive and employ the use of surveillance technology.