The Federal Government is considering banning the use of motorcycles and mining activities nationwide to cut off sources of funds by terrorists and bandits.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, gave the hint Thursday while briefing State House reporters after a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. He said the government needed to act because terrorists had moved from the conventional ways of funding their activities to mining and ransom taking.
He said motorcycles were used by the bandits for movement; while mining provided them funds for their arms supply. Asked if the government would consider the implications of the proposed ban on the lives of ordinary Nigerians and the economy, he said national and public interests would be placed above individual interests.
“The government will look into that possibility with particular regards to restriction on use and distribution of motorcycles which is the most conventional logistical means being deployed by terrorists.
“Again, issues of funding of the terrorism and the terrorism act were discussed and deliberated upon and considered,” he said.
He said with the Money Laundering, Prevention and Prohibition Act, the conventional means of terrorists’ funding was substantially and drastically addressed leading to forensic analysis of and identification of certain personalities that were in one way or the other connected with terrorism financing.
“But then, new innovations were brought into the terrorists funding and financing inclusive of the use of mineral resources – the mining for example among others. And indeed, ransom which conventionally has been taken by the terrorists and then the need arises to now look into those frontiers that are being considered by the terrorists for the purpose of addressing them accordingly.”
He said the government was looking at what measures to take in terms of addressing, bridging and blocking associated sources of terrorists’ funding, including payment for ransom and “indeed, the mining activities and the possibility or otherwise of suspending for the time being, mining activities, are being considered as well, by the government.”
A security and intelligence expert, Kabiru Adamu, in a chat with Daily Trust yesterday, advised the government to consider regulatory measures rather than ban motorcycles, in the interests of the local economy.
He said he had earlier asked the government to limit terrorists’ ability to move freely.
“And since we know they use mainly motorcycles to move around, we had in mind the system where the government is able to at least regulate the movement of okada, not ban it. We don’t support the ban.
“What this means is that, the government should have an idea of motorcycles in existence and make sure those motorcycles are registered, and then have a system in place where when the owners of those motorcycles use them to commit acts that are against the law, they’re held accountable.
“Banning will affect the economy of the local communities, and the poor economy is a driver of insecurity. If the government further strangulates the economy by reducing the ability of law-abiding citizens to move around, it’ll further drive insecurity in those local communities,” he said.
He added: “However, I think what the government should do is to do more of what we call a ‘targeted-approach’ where they’ll insist that every motorcycle owner must register who he is, and then develop the capacity to monitor the usage and movement of these motorcycles. So, surveillance is an option.
“We can have eyes in the air through satellites we have or other technology where we’ll know when those bikes move and how they move,” he said.
Also speaking after the NSC meeting, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said substantial efforts went into gathering of intelligence before the recent attack on Kuje Correctional Centre.
He, however, regretted that there was the absence of will to act on it.
He said a preliminary report of investigation on the attack had been submitted to the president and that a detailed report would be made available at the end of the probe.
He said those found to have abandoned their responsibilities would be punished.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to investigate the causes, dimensions and effects of the recent terrorists’ attack on the Kuje custodial centre.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Sha’aban Sharada.