The ban on the use of motorcycles in major towns in Adamawa State is based on the use of the motorcycles for crime. In an interview with Premium Times, Maijama’a Adamu, the Press secretary to the State Governor, Murtala Nyako, speaks on the effect of the ban on residents of the North-eastern state without adequate alternatives.
HAS THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDED ALTERNATIVES FOR THE PEOPLE?
We have launched Keke Nyako even before banning Achaba (motorcycles) in order to bring sanity into the sector, about 430 units were brought in across the state. At the time they were brought in, nobody anticipated that there will be a total ban on the use of motorcycles in the state, although there was a ban on its use at night in some major towns, and the tricycles were brought to provide alternative to the people in case they want to move in the night.
The tricycles were distributed at subsidized rates to be paid over a period of two years, however, I can confirm that what was provided was not adequate considering the volume of Okada riders in town, but the governor has said repeatedly that arrangements are on-going to bring more.
IS THE BAN LIKELY TO BE REVIEWED?
Nobody is talking about review at the moment, what we are doing now is to monitor the effectiveness of the measure, the only reason that led to the ban, as hard as it may sound, is to have respect for the sanctity of human life. It is the popular opinion of all security operatives in town that motor cycles were the major tools used in perpetrating these crimes, especially the indiscriminate shootings.
EFFECT ON THE ECONOMY OF THE STATE?
Definitely such a measure is likely to affect the economy of the state, because there are families who depend solely on Achaba. But economic drawbacks should not be a reason to compromise people’s lives; safety of lives is considered much more paramount than the economic fortunes associated with such business. Secondly, the government has from day one advocated that people should look for a more viable alternative way of economic pursuit, so much that Adamawa citizens should be adding value to the aggregate National GDP, that is why we place so much emphasis on Youth empowerment through the farming skill acquisition centres set up because of the revolution going on in the Agriculture sector and the believe that Agriculture business pays.
Also, the vocational training centres set up were all geared towards empowering the youth toward self-reliance, and all those who embraced the scheme are praising it. It has therefore, become necessary for all to look inward, it is not progressive for anyone to say he is depending on Achaba as a means of living, so people must look for alternatives.
WHAT BECOMES OF OKADA RIDERS?
The tricycles introduced was solely for Okada riders, it was distributed through their union, and you don’t even have to be from Adamawa state to benefit, once the union recognizes and guarantees you, you will be qualified to get it. It is just that what has been provided is not enough, but more will be provided soon.
So what the government is doing is to even improve their business for them to make it in a bigger way.
WHAT IS THE STATE OF SECURITY AFTER THE BAN?
There is marked improvement not just in security but safety generally. Before the ban some shops close by 6pm, but they now operate up to 9pm. In fact some business owners closed shop totally, but many have now come back to life. On the whole, the elongation of hours of business is an indication that people are becoming much more confident of the security arrangements being put in place.
Most importantly, we have not received any news of assassination since the ban came into force, and in the first two days of the ban the Federal Medical Center Yola, have for the first time failed to record a single case of accident at the Accident and Emergency unit of the hospital.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN LAMURDE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, WHERE RECENT KILLINGS OCCURED?
Information available to us shows that normalcy has returned to the place, and government is reaching out to ascertain the rate of damages and then apply what the law says with respect to compensations.