The ban of commercial motorcycles, popularly called ‘achaba’, in Kano State has cut off the livelihood of over half a million achaba riders, a union official informed our correspondent yesterday. This could cost the state economy about N500 million every day, equivalent of N1.5billion per month, as an average motorcyclist earned about N1,500 a day.
Kano State deputy governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had on Tuesday announced the ban of commercial motorcycle operations in Kano following the broad daylight assassination attempt on the emir of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero, by motorcycle riding gunmen.
The deputy governor announced that the state government had reviewed the security report made available to it and, as a result, had found it imperative to impose the ban on the trade.
He also directed all the achaba riders to go back to their various local governments of origin and get registered with the respective authorities for their own benefit.
When our correspondent contacted the Kano State chairman of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycles and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Alhaji Muhammad Sani, he said that members of the union were still hopeful that the state government would reverse the ban.
Sani says the union had submitted a memo to the state government, urging it to suspend the ban pending the screening and registration of eligible operators.
"Anything short of the reversal of the ban could spur economic hardship and destabilize family ties among our members as well as increase the rate of joblessness," said ACOMORON chairman.
He lamented that the state government had promised the provision of 1,000 commercial motor vehicles and tricycles, but to this end only 20 had been given to the union for distribution to its members.
He reaffirmed his union’s commitment to defending the interest of its members, saying they will not back down until something good and acceptable comes from the state government.
Jibrin Isah, an achaba rider residing at Badawa Quarters and a student of Saadatu Rimi College of Education, said he had been in the trade for six years, and through it he fed himself, paid for his education and supported his parents.
He cried out that he had nothing to fall back if he was pushed out of the business which earned him about N1,500 per day, and that he would have to drop out of school.
Physically challenged persons also expressed worry over the ban. Babayo Ali, a young man with disability in one leg, and street beggar along State Road, Kano, said he boarded achaba from his home on daily basis to the place he begged for a living. When approached, he told our correspondent that life would be very tough for him without the services of commercial motorcyclists.
"I urge the government to reconsider the ban on achaba as disabled persons are among the patronisers. Only a responsible government attaches respect to its disable persons," Ali said.
Ali has a wife and four children and has been disabled since childhood. Another physically challenged, Malam Auwalu Isah, said the new law would create a precarious situation in the society.
"I wonder how government could take this decision in this very difficult situation, when the economy of the poor people is in bad shape. A considerable number of youth is unemployed and there are a number of broken homes as a result of economic instability," Isah said.
Isa, who is a father of five, called on government to find better ways of tackling the security challenges, as a ban on commercial motorcycling will only encourage insecurity in the land.