The federal government’s threat to criminalise commercial motorbikes, sometimes known as “Okadas,” and the ban on motorcycles in several states is having a significant negative impact on traders.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ second quarter 2022 foreign trade data, imports of motorcycles into Nigeria decreased by 35.92%.
Bizwatchnigeria noted that overall motorbike imports fell from N74.59 billion in Q1 2022 to N47.8 billion in Q2 2022.
Nigeria bought motorbikes worth N57.17 billion, N17.34 billion, and N84.63 million from Indonesia in Q1 2022. It accounted for 1.26 per cent of all imports in this quarter and was the sixth most popular import.
Nigeria brought in motorcycles worth N31.98 billion from India, N15.28 billion from China, N528.98 million from Indonesia, and N0.96 billion from Pakistan by Q2 2022. It represented 0.88 per cent of all imports in this quarter and was the 12th most popular import.
What is the reason for the ban?
Due to the terrorist assaults on the Kuje penitentiary institution on July 5 and other locations across the country, the Federal Government is now considering a ban on mining and motorcycle use.
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, claimed that the terrorists were able to move around on motorbikes using money obtained from mining and used to buy weapons. The issues deliberated borders on the logistics being used by the terrorists, Boko Haram, and bandits, among others, in executing their unfortunate acts of terrorism and terrorising the country.
“It was extensively deliberated upon as to what needs to be done for the purpose of ensuring that their means of logistics are indeed adequately considered and necessary steps are taken in degrading their capacity to move around.
“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,” Malami said.
What are the effects of the proposed Ban?
The National President of Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria, Adebayo Apelogun, kicked against the proposed ban on the activities of motorcycle operators in the country.
Apelogun told reporters that the decision, if implemented, would throw millions out of jobs, noting that this would worsen insecurity in the country.
He said, “Cutting off the head is never a solution for headaches. The proposal for an outright ban on motorcycles in the country would throw millions of our members out of employment and this will add more to the insecurity we are trying to solve. Don’t let us forget that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.”
“It is not going to be a good policy because you will end up encouraging more crimes while trying to solve some others,” one of the traders of motorcycles in Nnewi, Anambra State, Osita Udume, said.
“It is also going to cause more economic troubles for some of us in the value chain,” he noted.