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Ameachi, Bagudu urge FG to reconsider ban on commercial motorcycles

Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi have urged the Federal Government to regulate operations of tricycle and commercial motorcycle riders rather than ban them outright.

They gave the advice in Abuja at a strategic stakeholders’ summit to appraise the importance of commercial tricycles and motorcycles to the economy vis-a-vis the implications of using them for crime and terrorism.

The public officers insisted that commercial tricycles and motorcycles had contributed immensely to the economy and assisted greatly in generating temporary and permanent employments to the teeming youth, including job-seeking graduates.

They, however, advised operators of tricycles and motorcycles to begin working together and regulate themselves, in order to encourage the government to integrate their operations into the transportation sector as a reliable means of commuting.

In a keynote address, Ambassador Anthonia Akpabio called on the government to understudy the regulatory system being used in Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, and other countries that have successfully integrated motorcycles and tricycles as viable means of transportation, and apply same in Nigeria, in order to stabilise the economy and enhance security.

Earlier, the National President of tricycles and motorcycles, Prince Samsudeen Apelogun, warned that if the policy of banning the use of commercial motorcycles and tricycles is not vacated, they might lead to an emergency and could plunge the masses into unbearable hardship.

“As law-abiding citizens, we believe in the rule of law,” he stated.

“We have continued to manage our conduct and reactions to these very developments to ensure that we don’t break the law while at the same time seeking platforms where the contending issues can be slated for extensive discussion. One such platform is this summit.

“It is an open discussion that our operations in a few states in Nigeria that are being restricted, and riders’ motorcycles are confiscated and destroyed, which affects many innocent riders who took loans to buy their bikes. These include young graduates who have tried unsuccessfully to find gainful employment. The governments hinged their decisions fundamentally on two factors: Accidents and Insecurity, but we have responded accordingly, presenting to the governments the effects of that proposed policy. We shall have the train-the-trainers workshop, where we educate our members.”

Mr Apelogun said the theme of the summit, “Mutually Beneficial Integration of Motorcycles and Tricycles into Public Transportation System in Nigeria: The Harmless Approach”, was therefore an appropriate manner of calling the attention of State actors to understand the “terrible implications” of the policies introduced by some state governments banning the use of tricycles and motorcycles for commercial purposes.

“I admit that the safety and security of the citizens are a fundamental responsibility of the government,” he declared.

“However, adequate attention must be paid to details so that more problems are not created to solve this issue; I hereby suggest the following points as major steps in this integration and regulation:

Encouragement of transportation security control databases such as NISPSAS with the ministry of interior and ACORIDE system.

A formalization that will enable the government to have more internal revenue generation and replace the current extortion by non-state actors which can be dedicated to road maintenance.”

Prince Apelogun said they would continue to appeal to government at all levels to consider the interest of the generality of Nigerians, especially those at the lowest part of the economic ladder when formulating and implementing these policies.

“One of the major factors that brought motorcycles and tricycles into our transportation system as you well know is unemployment whereas this sector of transportation is by far a large means of mass employment to teeming youths, we, therefore appeal to the government to adopt the concept of providing alternatives before enforcement of policies that might incur more hardship to the people”.

We believe very strongly that the concept of throwing the baby away with bath water stands illogical on the head. This explains the reason we have continuously suggested and indeed appeal that regulation of this mass form of employment, instead of banning should be the way forward. The government should support in enforcing of security apparatus and providing safety measures, he said.

Prince Apelogun appealed to critical stakeholders, policy makers, and opinion molders, to advise the government accordingly and ensure the implementation of their resolutions for the good of all Nigerians, especially the less-economically advantaged, who rely largely on motorcycles and tricycles for easy movement.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu