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FG To Ban ‘Okada’, Mining Nationwide Over Terrorist Attacks

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www.bigpenngr.com understands . the federal government is also thinking of banning mining activities nationwide to cut off terrorists sources of funding.

The plan is part of resolution reached at the National Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,  Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House Correspondents along side his Interior and Police Affairs counterparts, Rauf Aregbesola and Mohammed Dingyadi, respectively,  at the end of the meeting, said the decision to focus on the logistics used by the terrorists was deliberate.

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He said the ban would include motorcycles used for movement and mining, which provides them the money to fund their arms supply.

Malami added that Federal Government is now looking into ways to stymie their actions by blocking the already identified sources. He noted that terrorists have shifted from traditional methods of funding to mining and ransom taking, necessitating government action.

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Minister of Interior confirmed that significant efforts were made to gather intelligence prior to the recent attack on the Kuje Correctional Centre, but expressed regret that there was a lack of will to act on it.

Aregbesola, who said the preliminary investigation on the attack had been submitted to the president, assured that all those found to have shirked their responsibilities at the end of the ongoing investigation would be punished.

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“Placing a ban on the use of motorcycles and mining activities will cut the supply of logistics to the terrorists. This will be done in the national interest. We are Nigerians because Nigeria as a country exists and any issue that will translate into a threat to national security or the corporate existence of the country requires certain sacrifices.

“So, regardless of the means that is being considered for the possible banning, this is a sacrifice that we see as what will help address the security challenges and I think no sacrifice is too big as far as that issue is concerned.

“Above all, if you are talking of banning motorcycles for example, I think the number of people using these motorcycles is not up to 20 percent of the Nigerian population. So, if that percentage is called to make a sacrifice that is all pervading or affecting over 200 million Nigerians, I think that sacrifice is not too much and is worthy of being considered.”

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According to the Minister, the responsibility of government is to protect the public interest over individual interests, so the bans being considered by the government are in the national interest.

Malami stated that since government’s blockage of terrorist funding sources, the enemies of the state have resorted to using unconventional sources of funding, such as mining and ransom collection, to fund their nefarious activities.

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It’ll worsen insecurity -Ejiofor, ex-DSS boss

Security expert and former director of Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, has warned that banning of commercial motorcycles would increase security challenges in the country.    

Ejiofor who spoke on a television interview monitored in Lagos, said if government go ahead with its decision, it would have great socio-economic implications and also worsen insecurity rather than solve the problem

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He advised that if a nationwide ban must be implemented, government needs to provide a viable alternative for the high number of Nigerians who will be left without a daily source of income, pointing out that they could easily see crime as a way out and a means of survival.

He, however, said government should map out those areas where okada is generally used to commit crime and implement a ban in those areas.

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“I think what government should do is to identify established areas, especially in the North West where you have these bandits using bikes and ban the motorcycles in those areas.”

He also said ease of movement in rural areas should be considered before implementation of a nationwide okada ban. He said motor vehicles cannot easily access most rural areas and a ban would only increase the untold hardship of Nigerians in those areas.

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“If we say there is a ban on motorcycles, how would people be travelling ,especially in rural areas and remote communities?” he queried.

He advised that government needed to restrategise with regards to security challenges in the country and how to tackle them.

(Daily Sun)

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