The Kaduna State Government, as part of efforts to address rising insecurity in the state, has banned the use of motorcycles, popularly known as okada, for commercial and personal purposes.
The state also announced the shutdown of communication networks in some parts of the state beginning from Wednesday.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed these during a press conference in Kaduna on Wednesday, three days after bandits killed no fewer than 51 people in the southern part of the state.
Also on Wednesday, security experts warned that with the ban on okada in Kaduna and some northern states, the riders would migrate to other states.
The experts gave the warning as bandits killed no fewer than 30 people in Kachiwe and its adjourning villages in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger State on Tuesday evening.
In Kaduna, Aruwan while addressing journalists, said, “Recall that Governor Nasir El-Rufai announced in a media chat yesterday ( September, 28, 2021) that the state government had formally requested the Federal Government to enforce the shutdown of telecom services in parts of the state identified by security agencies as requiring such measures.
“The relevant federal agencies have today informed the Kaduna State Government that the processes for telecoms shutdown in parts of the state have commenced.
“As part of the steps to address the current security situation in Kaduna State and neighbouring states in the North-West and North-Central, the state government has held several meetings with security agencies to adopt critical measures towards crushing bandits in their identified hideouts.
“The military and other security forces have been carrying out assaults on the identified locations. The state government is advised that certain measures are now necessary to assist the spirited efforts of these security agencies.
“The following measures become effective from Thursday, September, 30 2021; the complete ban on the use of motorcycles (okada), for commercial or personal purposes, for three months in the first instance; ban on possession of or wielding of dangerous weapons.
“Tricycles are allowed to operate only from 6am to 7pm. All tricycles must remove all curtains. Movement of all tricycles is restricted from dusk till dawn (7pm to 6am).
“All vehicles used for commercial transport must be painted yellow and black within 30 days. Vehicles that are part of ride-hailing services are to carry yellow and black stripes.”
Commenting on the ban on okada, a security expert and member of the International Institute of Professional Security in Nigeria, Jackson Lekan-Ojo, in an interview with The PUNCH, called on other state governors to emulate their Kaduna State counterpart.
He said, “I applaud the Kaduna State governor on the ban. People may find it difficult to make up, but they should understand that the first thing is security.
“One of the issues we are facing in this country is that when we wage war on insecurity, we attack from one corner. Only one part of the country gets the heat.
“A bandit that experiences fire in Kaduna will move to another state to perpetrate evil. Reports have shown that these people use motorcycles most of the time for criminal activities.
“Now that the Kaduna State governor has banned their operations, the next thing you will see is that most of them will start moving to Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger because there is no heat in these places. Before you know it, you will see them in Kogi, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Edo and before you know it, God forbid, they take over the South-West.”
He said with the ban, the Kaduna State Government had the responsibility to man boundaries to make sure that they do not migrate to other states.
He said other governors should also see the development as a wake-up call to ban them in their states.
Another security expert, Timothy Avele, said strict regulations should be put in place in southern states.
He said, “I think the government is being reactive. Aside from banning okada and tricycles, there are reports of also shutting down telecommunication services like Zamfara State.
“From a general perspective, it is a good action. But from a professional security angle, it is like dressing a cancerous sore instead of treating it headlong.
“The truth is that these reactive measures can’t produce the desired results in the long run.
Expert berates southern govs, says they’re inactive
“The southern governors sadly do not see what is happening in the northern part of the country as an immediate danger to their zone. I have yet to see any state in the South with concrete proactive security measures to counter the expected spillover of what is happening in the northern part. They are busy preparing for 2023
“However, I would rather suggest strict regulation and monitoring than sending them back altogether, except states that already have okada ban in place. Don’t forget, there is no job anywhere.
“More so, it is not the okada that makes crime increase, it is the lack of proper intelligence-based policing.”
Another security expert, Commodore Abimbola Ayuba (retd.), said the southern governors should be on the alert.
He said, “Motorcyclists are most times being used to perpetrate crime.
“The government and the citizens have to be very vigilant and be more proactive in their dealings.
“Some states south have banned motorcycles, what they need to do is to ensure that the ban remains in force.”
But a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Austin Iwar, wondered if there was any study that showed that the motorcycle and tricycle riders contributed to crime spike in the country.
He argued, “In the first place, the governors brought the tricycles as part of empowerment. Has anyone carried out a study to show that the rising criminality was caused by tricycle riders and motorcyclists? Have the governors carried out a study to find out if these categories of people that they created contribute to crimes?
Instead of banning them, Iwar said the activities of the riders should be properly regulated to generate revenue for the government.
He said, “What you need is regulation and enforcement and a tricycle is a source of revenue for the government; licensing and contravention which can bring in a lot of revenue. The government needs to conduct a study to know the economic value of Okada and tricycles. I don’t support the ban because they have economic and social values.”
A Security Risk Management Consultant, Kabir Adamu, said the ban could result in negative mobilisation and crimes in the concerned states, arguing that the issue could trigger a bigger problem.
He said, “When you ban Okada, what options have you given them? If you don’t give them a job, it means you are sending them back in to the pool from which those that are carrying out security challenges are recruiting from.
“In the case of Kaduna, apart from bandits, we know there are criminal gangs, youth gangs that are quite active. There are also political leaders who engage youths for political violence. What it means is that you are sending these Okada riders into this pool and they can be easily recruited.”
He advised southern states which might record influx of jobless youths from the north to engage in profiling of the riders.
A security consultant, Mr Chidi Omeje, described the ban as a developmental issues, adding that the government must provide alternatives if it insisted on banning motorcycles and tricycles.
He noted, “These are some of the desperate measures that the chief executives of states who have challenge in governing their states deploy. If you are going to ban Ookada or Keke (tricycles) , what other alternatives do you have for the people? You are going to add to the hardship of the citizens and life would be much more terrible for the average Nigerians who have no cars and of course, there are no trains.”
Omeje explained that the ban would result in the influx of riders in the south, adding that the state governments in the region should ensure effective security measures.
He added, “Influx of skada and keke riders to the south is one of the outcomes of this rash and brash decision. Nigerians are itinerant people; if you make lives difficult for them up north, the natural thing for them is to migrate down south.”
In Benue State, the Officer in Charge of Operation in the state Police Command, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ike Nwosu, in an interview with one of our correspondents said that the ban on okada riders from 8pm till 6am was still force. “The ban on Okada in Benue State in the night still in force”, Nwosu said
In Ondo State, the state government said the ban on riding on motorcycles beyond 7pm was still subsisting .
The Special Adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the administration in the state was committed to the protection of lives and property.
He said, “ The ban on okada riding in the evening is still in force and we are not taking anything for granted in the area of security of people.
“Let any bandit bring okada to this state from anywhere, we are battle-ready for them. They will meet us here. The security of our people is paramount to us. “
Operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in Katsina State have been restricted. They are not allowed to operate from 10pm to 6am in Katsina, the state capital.
In Sokoto State, an official of the state government, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the media, stated that Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s restriction on okada was in force.
The governor recently signed into law, Security Challenges (Containment) Order 3, 2021, prohibiting motorcycles operations from 10pm to 6am in the state capital, and 6pm to 6am in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Gwadabawa, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno local governments areas.
In River State, it was learnt that motorcycles and tricycles were not allowed to operate in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
Motorcycles were banned from operating in the state capital during the tenure of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi on the grounds that they contributed to accidents witnessed in the state.
The state Government through the Commissioner for Transport, Osima Gina, in December 2020 began a clampdown on the operations of tricycles, saying the move was to forestall avoidable accidents.
Gina recalled that the state Governor Nyesom Wike had signed an Executive Order banning tricycles from operating on 19 major roads, noting that most of the road crashes in Port Harcourt were traceable to tricycle operations.
He stated, “In addition to that,you can see the increasing infrastructure being put in place by the governor in terms of roads and flyovers. So, there is a need to restore sanity on the roads.”
The PUNCH gathered that Lagos State would soon get tough with okada riders.
Motorcyclists had on September 23 went on the rampage killing a senior police officer, Chief Superintendent of Police, Kazeem Abonde attached to the Operations Department of the state police command.
The incident took place at Ajao Estate Junction Bus-Stop, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, when security agents were enforcing the ban on okada by the state government. ,,