Some Nigerians on Thursday, expressed divergent views on the ban of motorcycles in seven states in northern part of the country by the Army.
The Nigerian Army had on Monday announced the ban of motorcycles within the hinterland and forests in Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger.
It predicated the action on its “observation’’ that bandits, kidnappers, other criminal elements and their collaborators used motorcycles to perpetrate crimes in those states.
Mr Ralph Momoh, an engineer, told NAN that the action by the military was an aberration.
“The police are the ones meant to secure the populace.
“The military have now been brought into civil affairs.
“Ideally, the military has no business doing all these,” he said.
Momoh, however, attributed the kidnappings to socio-economic factors, saying “people are hungry, though this is not a justification to engage in crimes; some others are lured into the criminal act”.
He also said that crime was unabated because the police force was over-stretched.
“With the limited number of policemen in the country, they cannot really police the nation. This is with regards to the ratio of policemen when compared to the population.”
He, therefore, called for massive infrastructural development in the country “to create jobs’’.
Mr Meshach Ikwe, a businessman, said that the army was established secure the nation against external aggressions, while the police was to handle internal security and civil issues.
“So, with banning the use of motorcycles, I think it is within the purview of the Nigeria Police Force, since it is an internal security challenge.”
Ikwe suggested that a multi-dimensional approach was needed to tackle kidnappings in the country, adding that one of the approaches was for government to provide jobs for the teeming unemployed and exuberant youth.
“Most of them graduate with all the technical know-how, so with the needed support from government, the issue of kidnapping will be reduced,” he said.
Ikwe appealed to government at all levels and the political class to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and ensure the ease of doing business in the country.
He called for more funding and training of security operatives to be at par with their counterparts globally, saying that if this was done, they would be more professional in their operations.
“The reward system should be reasonable and in tandem with the economic realities of the day.
“These submissions are based on the fact that, when the economic well-being of a people is better, the rate of crime and criminality is reduced to a barest minimum.”
A teacher, Mr Offiah Uti, said that announcing the ban amounted to usurping the powers of governments of the affected states.
According to him, if the army had any intelligence report on crimes in any state, all it needed to do was to avail the governor of state, who is the chief security officer, of the information.
“It is in the governor’s place to take some steps which may include banning certain things, imposing curfew and making laws through bills to the house of assembly,’’ Uti said.
On her part, Mrs Odinaka Lagi, Senior Programme Director, Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), said “there is the need for the army to be more proactive rather than getting involved in civil matters.
“They are currently using insecurity to line their pockets.
“Insecurity has economic benefits. So if we check those profiting from it, then we will tackle the problem.
“In addition, we need to hold those funding the fulani militants accountable.
“When our security is ready to work, the problem will be tackled,” she said.
Mr Bisi Kazeem, Public Education Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said that anything that was done to ensure that the country was secured “is right”.
“The army must have done that for security purposes,” Kazeem said.
Mr Dan Kagaru, a lecturer at the University of Jos, said that security outfits “must up their game” with respect to all the intelligence reports they were gathering.
“The police should be the ones to control civil public life, but if there is security emergency like joint security task force, soldiers can get involved”.
Kagaru called for the equipping of vigilante groups with arms to serve as “neighbourhood watch’’.