In an obvious desperate bid to curtail activities of bandits and insurgents who have turned living to hellish affair for people in communities across the State, Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello on Saturday placed ban on sale of motorcycles in Niger.
Motorcycles are the favourite means of transport for insurgents who lived in forests and regularly made incursions to towns and villages to pillage and kidnap people, especially in rural communities of Niger and other contiguous states while armed with sophisticated weapons.
Bandits now demand for motorcycles as part of ransom to free kidnapped persons.
The ban on sale of motorcycles in Niger was announced about 48 hours after suspected Boko Haram insurgents on Thursday invaded a village in Shiroro LGA and abducted 22 under- aged girls.
Governor Sani Bello, had also raised the alarm several times that an Islamic group akin to Boko Haram had hoist their flag in Kaure a village close to Kurebe and some other parts of the state.
Also on Wednesday night, suspected bandits launched their first attack on a suburb of Minna, the state capital and abducted a patent medicine dealer simply identified as Sunday Anthony
It was learnt that the bandits who came through the thick forest of Kampala axis were shooting randomly and went straight to the house to pick only the patent medicine dealer in his house.
An eyewitness account revealed that the bandits’ operation lasted only 10 minutes as they hurriedly picked Anthony about 9 pm, indicating that he was the target and took him away in their motorcycles.
Gunmen also abducted a young person adjacent the gate of the Federal University of Technology, FUT, Minna less than two weeks ago.
Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane, who announced the ban of the sale of motorcycles said in a statement issued in Minna on Saturday confirmed that the ban resulted from incessant security challenges in some parts of state.
He stated that the measure was aimed at eradicating the activities of criminals, bandits and kidnappers who unleashed mayhem on innocent citizens.
He stated that the ban was also informed by the fact that bandits and kidnappers now demand motorcycles as ransom.
He explained that the ban covered the sale of “any motorcycle (Bajaj, Boxer, Qiujeng, Honda ACE, Jingchen) with engine capacity from 185 Cubic Centimetres (cc) and above’’.
He condemned the degree of carnage and pandemonium bandits and kidnappers caused in parts of the state and reiterated its continued determination to rid the state of security threats.
Matane added that government was aware of the inconveniences the measure would cause the people, but the decision was taken in the overall interest of the state.
He appealed to dealers in motorcycles in the state to comply with the directive.
He urged the citizens to cooperate with security agencies on the security measures being put in place to put an end to activities of criminal elements.
The secretary to the state government also stated that government had ordered security agencies in the state to ensure effective and strict compliance and enforcement of the directive.
Matane reaffirmed that commercial motorcycling and operation of illegal garages remained banned in Minna and its environs.