THE Zamfara State government has banned the riding of motorcycles, popularly known as okada, from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am in Gusau town, the state capital.
Governor Bello Matawalle, who gave the directive on Monday, also directed security operatives to shoot at sight any okada rider that violates the ban.
According to the governor, the order followed reports that bandits are using motorcycles to perpetrate their criminal activities within the state.
“Considering the recent invasion of bandits in some areas on the outskirts of Gusau, the state capital, riding of motorcycles is hereby banned from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am in all areas and outskirts of Gusau town.
“Security forces are hereby ordered to shoot anyone riding a motorcycle between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am on the outskirts of Gusau, who refuses to stop when ordered to do so by them,” the governor ordered.
The areas where motorcycles are banned include Mareri, Damba, Tsunami, Tsauni, Barakallahu, Samaru, Gada Biyu, and Janyau East.
Matawalle also advised residents of the state to assist the security agencies with information on criminal activities.
“Meanwhile, members of the public have been implored to be vigilant in their localities and report to security agencies any suspicious person or strange movement in their respective communities.
“The state government will not take it lightly with any one found disturbing the peace and security of the people.
“My administration is doing everything humanly possible in accordance with the laws of the land to ensure the discharge of this responsibility,” the governor added.
Zamfara is one of the states worst hit by banditry. It has the second highest number of deaths from non-state actors in the first quarter of 2022, with 327 cases.
The state government said it was “ready to facilitate people, especially farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves”.
It also directed the state police command to issue gun licences to all persons deemed as qualified and are willing to obtain firearms to defend themselves.
However, the directive was opposed by the police.
Zamfara State Police Commissioner Ayuba Elkana said the embargo on firearms is still in force, noting that the police has stopped issuing licences to citizens who wish to own guns.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: email@example.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M