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Insecurity: Ban arms smuggling, not 14 million Okada riders, NATOMORAS to FG

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Comrade Sylvester Nandi-Esom
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The National Executive Secretary of the of the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NATOMORAS), Comrade Sylvester Nandi-Esom has faulted the Federal government’s proposed ban of Okada riding over security challenges in Nigeria.

He argued that commercial motorcycling business involved over 14 million people across the country who are daily doing their businesses like any one, saying that government’s allusion to their criminality was not true.

Lamenting the high level of insecurity, Comrade Nandi-Esom noted that government was now taking steps because, terrorists have taken the battle to their doorstep, adding that FG was taking a wrong step by fingering Okada riders as responsible for security challenges.

He however, said, that arms smugglers were responsible for insecurity, stressing that for years, some people were smuggling rifles and dangerous weapons which were never produced in Nigeria into the country through porous boarders.

He lampooned the Federal government for not sanctioning arms smugglers untill their illicit business has resulted to security challenges, only to start blaming motorcycle and tricycle riders for the peril of the nation, adding that government has obviously failed in it’s responsibility.

He said: “Government in itself is a social contract that was established between people and the government, to give them protection in the area of security, the area of social welfare, infrastructure, etc. So if governments fails in their own responsibility, they look for places to rub what is supposed to be the responsibility to a less privilege category of people in our society.

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“The reason why I say this is that government over time have in so many ways failed in the area of security , underrated the aspect of security of properties of life, especially in Nigeria. And now the thing they underrated is coming to their doorsteps and out of fear they’re bringing all kinds of stories that Okada Riders have done this and that.

“You recall that we have had serious security challenges in Nigeria. We had the issues of one chance, taxis , Boko Haram started their activities but we didn’t ban the sale of ammunition. Where did they get these ammunition.

“The fact that we do not have borders in Nigeria is already a problem because these ammunition were smuggled into this country because we do not manufacture them. People bring them into the country as part of their businesses.

“They do not ban the smuggling of those ammunition. They do not ban those trading in all these businesses. Now that the criminality has increased in our society, the government because of mechanism that happened in Abuja, Kuje prison was assigned to Okada.

“Now my question is if you ban Okada today, what is the alternative you prepared for the citizens ,what are the mechanisms in place to checkmate these excesses of insecurity? Because , as far as we are concerned , we are an association constitution ally constitutionally enshrined.

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“We are registered with CAC with approximately 14 million members. So if you ban Okada for the reason that crimes are being carried out, Now, the issue is we have different segments of Okada.

“There’s commercial purpose, which is that of our members, the private Okada ,there’s one that they’re using these days now for delivery. There are teachers that have done empowerment, government have done empowerment for teachers and they have there Okada.

“Staff of the civil service especially in the state use Okada . The members of National Assembly have done series of empowerment giving Okada and you announce to ban Okada.

“This is what they’re using to empower the people and you want to disempower them. That’s the basic question. So you cannot say because they use the bikes that are not registered with us as an association.

“And they use that as a medium to ban the livelihood of 14 million registered members. I’m not talking about the in registered members , the police also used Okada to do their personal business.

“As we speak now, members of ASUU are now using Okada to survive because there’s no salary. Since they have been on strike.

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“How would you not look at that because some elements uses it to carry out some illegal activities in our society. Why haven’t we banned the government because of some elements of criminality and corruption that we experience?

“What is the implications first, if you banned 140 million people, this is not their wife, not their children, these are not their family members, these are just members. If you banned them from operating, what is the implication? Then to ask that question first, we need to know the implication and the impact on the society.

“There are places that people are roasting, corn and you have to go with a bike, and those corns are not manufactured on the road, and they go to farms to bring them with Okada to the market.

When you ban, you are causing starvation in the country. You’re causing hunger, poverty, abject poverty. And people will die , it is a genocide. When Chibok girls were kidnapped, did they use Okada, when Dapchi girls were kidnapped did they use Okada ? They used Toyota Hilux Van, have we banned Toyota?

Have we banned any vehicle that was used in that operation? But coming to us, we understand as a system, a whole system in which there are subsystems, now political parties, other associations are part of the system”.

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