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ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has asserted that the proposed nationwide commercial motorcycle (Okada) ban will worsen the poverty index in the country calling on the federal government to rescind the plan.
A statement by AAN Communications Coordinator, Lola Ayanda which was made available to Africa Daily News, New York, urged the Federal Government to rethink the decision.
Admitting that the government meant well in the proposed ban on motorcycles and mining activities, the organization called for caution.
The Buhari administration had explained that the intended proscription would reduce terrorists’ access to logistics and sources of funds.
In their reply, AAN called for alternatives to lessen the effects of loss of livelihoods on those that would be affected.
Quoting a World Bank report, ActionAid noted that the number of poor persons in Nigeria will rise to 95.1 million in 2022.
‘The number was 89.0 million in 2020. This means that over 6.1 million more would have fallen into the poverty bracket between 2020 and 2022, a 6.7 percent increase,’ ActionAid said.
The body against poverty and injustice observed that the poverty rate in Nigeria had been aided by a number of factors.
AAN listed the COVID-19 crisis, the growing population, the high level of inflation – 18.6 per cent as of June 2022 – and the Ukraine-Russia war.
ActionAid also responded to Buhari’s comment that the Bank of Industry (BoI) created nine million jobs since 2015.
‘These have failed to stem the tide of poverty in the country’, the statement stressed.
Ahead of the ban, AAN wants a robust social safety net in place to buffer the impact.
The group urged Nigeria to invest in agriculture value-chain, girl-child education and prioritise the health and well-being of its citizenry.
‘It should enhance economic opportunities while embracing technology to improve economic productivity and opportunities for the citizens.
‘The government should encourage investments and job creation to engage those that will lose their livelihoods,’ it added.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the proposed ban has continued to generate quite some controversies.