ASIS International, a group of Security Professionals, has faulted the Nigerian Army’s ban on use of motorcycles in some states in the North West and North Central parts of the country.
The Army on May 6 announced the prohibition of motorcycles in Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kastina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger States.
The measure, under exercise HARBIN KUNAMA 111, according to army authorities, seeks to wipe out banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the states.
Kabir Adamu, Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Chapter of ASIS, who condemned the army’s directive, told News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that there were measures that would have made more impact than that.
According to him: “In our assessment of the measures taken by the army, we believe that it is almost foolhardy, in the sense that there are more important measures that probably would be more impacting.”
Adamu said that motorcycles were not deadly but the guns and other ammunition and weaponry that the bandits had access to constituted the danger.
“We would have thought that the army would take measures to prevent access to these weapons as well as the ammunition,” he said.
The chairman added that the army ought to have taken measures to stop the sources of funding and arms for the bandits before banning use of motorcycles.
Adamu said: “We are not aware if the army had taken any measure to stop the collection of ransom by these bandits because the whole objective of the kidnap-for-ransom is to get money.
“Unless and until this kind of measures are taken before we see the rationale behind the ban on the use of motorcycles.”
Adamu said the ban would bring untold hardship on the communities in the affected states as motorcycle was their primary means of transportation.
He said: “If you take away the use of motorcycles, you are alienating them.
“In other words, that objective that is very important to winning any military intervention would have been defeated.”
Adamu said it would be difficult to win the hearts and minds of the local populace in the area as they would see the measure as punitive.
He said the army had taken such measure in Borno State in the past and it was not effective.
“It did not stop the bombing, it continued so we are not really very convinced that the measure would reduce banditry and kidnap for ransom around these states,” he said.
On the alarm by the army on alleged plans to scuttle the May 29 inauguration of new administration, Adamu said it was not in its place to make such announcement.
The army had raised alarm over plans by some foreign interests and groups within the country to scuttle the May 29 handover.
Adamu said the office of the National Security Adviser, which has the coordinating function within the Nigerian security architecture, has that responsibility.
He said: “Where the ONSA feels it doesn’t want to make such announcement, the Ministry of Interior, which has the coordinating function for internal security within the country, will do that.
“We also know that the philosophy behind the Nigerian internal security policy is one of deterrence, so sometimes security agencies make pronouncement to serve as deterrent for would-be actions.
“Irrespective of what its objective was, our opinion is that it should not have been the army to make that announcement; internal security is not the mandate or purview of the military.”
Adamu said that where intelligence was gathered, there should be a repository and the appropriate agencies to make the announcement should have been the police or Department of State Services.
He said: “In this case, they should have gone ahead to arrest any individual allegedly attempting to scuttle the May 29 inauguration.
“If the military had any intelligence report, it ought to have made it available to the appropriate internal security that will arrest and take such person to court.”
A retired Commissioner of Police, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said the army wants to be seen to be working by making such pronouncements.
He said that it was not in the purview of the army to make such announcement where the police was in charge of internal security.