Northern Coalition Slams Okada Ban By Lagos Govt, Says It’s Targeted At Northerners
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Northern coalition slams Okada ban by Lagos govt, says it’s targeted at northerners

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Northern coalition slams Okada ban by Lagos govt, says it’s targeted at northerners

The Coalition of Northern Groups has issued a statement condemning the Lagos State Government’s continuous seizure and destruction of Okada motorcycles, claiming that the operation targets northern operators and was thus “totally unacceptable.”

Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the CNG’s Spokesman, who stated this in a statement on Monday, said the Lagos State Government was “rash, irrational, insensitive, and evil” in seizing and subjecting 7,548 bikes, largely owned and operated by northerners, to the crusher within 72 hours after imposing the ban.

Suleiman said, “We note that of recent, State governments in the South have resorted to imposing and enforcing controversial, unfriendly and damaging legislation that effectively curtail the right to freedom of movement of the northern people living in their midst.

“More disturbing is that like in the current case of Lagos, the enforcers of these discriminatory laws almost all the time fail to draw the decent distinction between the northerner as citizen, or commercial motorcycling as an occupation, from criminality.

“To the makers of these laws and their formal and informal enforcers, it matters little that just because some Okada riders commit certain breaches does not make all motorcyclists criminals.

“In fact, they are enforcing the laws without taking into consideration that the vast majority of northerners in Lagos – including those who are Okada operators

– are peaceful everyday people with the same needs, anxieties and hopes as the rest of Nigerians.”

Suleiman warned that this was not only a catalyst for more conflict, but also a clear violation of sections of the Nigerian Constitution that declare any law in any part of the country that conflicts with any of its provisions null and void, particularly on every citizen’s right to live and prosper in any part of the country without discrimination or harassment.

“This brutal encroachment by the Lagos State government on the right of northerners to freedom of movement, freedom of association and other fundamental human right safeguards, is eroding the consciousness that for decades, different tribes in Nigeria have been accommodated and tolerated in the North, without their hosts enacting discriminatory laws specifically to intimidate, harass and endanger them, their families, their properties or their trades.

“Notwithstanding the hard evidences of the notoriety of these settlers in the perpetration, commission, spread and promotion of various crimes and antisocial behaviours within their host communities, the North has never attempted to discriminate or label them beyond seeking solutions through legitimate and civil interventions.

“No matter through which lenses we look, therefore, we only see in this fast-phased agenda a manifestation of an ignoble system that tends to deploy a warped application of the law solely to endanger northerners living and doing legitimate businesses in Lagos which is unacceptable,” the statement added.

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