FG’S PLAN TO BAN MOTORCYCLES WITHOUT PRIOR MASSIVE CREATION OF GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WILL HEIGHTEN INSECURITY AND SOCIAL CRISIS RAVAGING THE COUNTRY
SPN Condemns the plan ban, calls on the leadership of NLC and TUC to organise a resistance against it and demand massive creation of gainful employment opportunities
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, condemns the plan of the Federal Government, FG to ban motorcycles as a means to curb activities of terrorists and other sources of insecurity ravaging the country at this present time. This planned ban which was the outcome of a meeting of the National Security Council meeting failed to recognise the need for a prior creation of massive gainful employment opportunities and tackling of the growing condition of poverty as an integral and indispensable aspect of any serious effort that will curb the growing rate of insecurity in the country.
This is quite unfortunate, given the inseparable link between the growing rate of terrorism, kidnapping and banditry on one side and poverty, unemployment, climate crises, illiteracy, religious extremism, and lack of democratic planning largely created by the crises of capitalism on the other side. It is in the consideration of this we hold that any serious effort to curb the threatening state of insecurity in the country must firstly address the question of unemployment and poverty otherwise it will end up being a scratch of the problem at the surface and treating the symptoms leaving the cause untouched.
Already, Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, recently acknowledged in a statement that about one-third of the 200million Nigeria population which is equivalent to between 40 and 67 million people are currently making daily end meet through the use of motorcycles for commercial purposes. Given this kind of unfortunate and shameful revelation by the, AGF, it is very obvious that no fewer than 50 million Nigerians will be denied a daily source of livelihood with high tendencies of them taking to crime if the FG goes ahead with its so called plan without provision of alternative job opportunities.
The SPN agrees that there are instances where motorcycles are used by a few individuals to perpetrate one form of crime or the other including the act of terrorism and banditry. However, this is not enough to place an indiscriminate ban on the use of motorcycle especially when it is obvious that millions of unemployed Nigerians were forced to resort to it as a legitimate means of making ends meet.
Again, the continuous rise in the rate of crime and insecurity in several states where commercial motorcycle has been banned under the pretence of it being used to perpetrate crime doesn’t suggest that the ban is a panacea to the rise in insecurity across the country.
The classist policy of banning commercial bikes was firstly launched by Nasir El-Rufai , as the despotic FCT PDP minister in 2006 at city centres in Abuja. This was later replicated in a number of Northern states where the rate of insecurity in form of banditry, kidnapping including terrorism has today taken an unprecedented scale. Commercial motorcycle was also banned in Lagos state specifically in 2007 and 2012 under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola under the pretence of curbing insecurity. The ban eventually ended up being a ploy through which the bike taxis services became an avenue to satisfy the profit interest of the big business through companies like GOKADA, OPAY etc. while the bikes of hard-working bikemen that were not connected to these private hawks were subjected to harassment, extortion and destruction of means of livelihood by the Lagos State Government and Police.
We of the SPN consider that the use of motorcycles as a means of mass transit is abnormal. But that its use for commercial purpose has become a dominant feature in the country today is partly as a result of the failure of the successive governments to provide quality roads including in communities and an integrated mass transport system.
SPN reiterates its opposition to any anti-people policy like privatisation seeking to protect the profit interest of big business at the expense of the overall interest of the public. This is the basis for our call for the nationalisation of the mining sector under a democratic control and management of the elected representatives of workers, relevant professionals and community people We also call on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to support this demand, resist the FG planned ban of okada without provision of alternative means of livelihood and demand massive creation of gainful employment opportunities.
We call for the nationalisation of mining sector, which has also contributed to the rising insecurity, as well as other major sectors of the economy like oil and gas, under a democratic control and management of the working people. This can help to liberate resources which can be used for adequate funding of social infrastructure like effective transport system, good roads, free and quality education, free healthcare, etc. side by side massive creation of gainful employment opportunities.
Unfortunately, none of the pro-capitalist governments currently presiding over the affairs of Nigeria at all levels is capable of implementing any of these programmes. Hence our persistent call and agitation within the labour movement on the need for the formation of a mass working people political party that could wrest a political power and form a working people government run on the basis of socialist programmes. Only this kind of socialist governments can ensure that the stupendous natural and human resources the country is endowed with translate into a decent living condition for the vast majority.
Acting National Chairperson