President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday weighed the possibility of imposing a nationwide ban on the sale and use of motorcycles by Nigerians, according to Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
Mr Malami said the administration’s consideration of the wholesale ban was forced by the raging insecurity that has shown no signs of subsiding despite concerted efforts of security agencies.
“The government would look into that possibility with particular regard to restriction on use and distribution of motorcycles which is the most conventional logistical means being deployed by terrorists,” Mr Malami said at the State House shortly after a meeting of the national security council on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Malami said the determination did not come easy for the administration, warning that Nigerians are likely to bear harsh economic implications of the move.
The attorney-general said federal authorities have been able to find a connection between motorcycles, mining operations and insecurity across the country. He, however, failed to clarify why the measure was being considered nationwide.
Boko Haram insurgents have operated predominantly in the country’s northeastern flank since 2009, while bandits terrorise northwest communities. Several states in both regions have implemented a ban on motorcycles and cut telephone networks for millions of residents, but no noticeable progress has been achieved in authorities’ efforts to return normalcy to the regions.
Southern regions have grappled with separatist agitations in the southeast and attacks on oil pipelines, but expanding motorcycle bans across the country could leave millions unable to commute in Lagos, Port-Harcourt and other economic corners of the country.
Mr Malami did not immediately say when the ban would be announced, or whether it would be debated openly prior to implementation, but he insisted that the administration would not disregard its intelligence report that recommended banning motorcycles to control the flow of money and other resources to rampaging outlaws.