Two or three years ago, WISR PhD student, Mohammad Ibrahim, completed a research paper and project on the negative environmental and health impact of the widespread use of “TWO STROKE ENGINES” in Nigeria. Confronted with the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal bureaucrats here in Abuja and their reluctance to implement the recommendations contained in the paper I adopted another approach which was to work through the various state governments in Nigeria who would individually implement some but preferably all of the recommendations contained in the paper with a view that a critical mass can then be ,established and hopefully the Federal Government of Nigeria would then make it a national issue and implement it nationwide. I am happy to inform you that after so much advocacy at the various states levels often silently;due to the passion that such issue evokes due to the high level of poverty and politics some of the states in Nigeria have started implementing some of the recommendations contained in the paper. Nigeria’s most populous and industrialized state, Lagos, has passed a law literally abolishing commercial motorbiking in Nigeria ditto with the oil rich Delta state . Of course the two states are currently facing a lot of social challenges as a result of this decision [because of the widespread dependence on these inexpensive engines. He has sent some news articles reporting on these developments, but the quality of the scans of the articles is not good enough to reproduce on our website.
He goes on to report, “I am working on a comprehensive report on the ban of the Commercial motorcycle as a means of transportation in Nigeria. More states are also passing edicts banning that mode of transportation. However as expected the decision is generating a lot of controversy due to its socio political implication especially in states where the high rate of employment is making such moves very unpopular and where the states had at inception employed that policy to reduce poverty level. Opposition parties are whipping up sentiments and emotions in order to exploit this well meaning policy to their political advantage.Meanwhile I am working quietly to bring into the net the ban on two stroke engines which could further heat up the polity but a decision which I believe on a weighted average shall do far more good to the heath, safety and environment of the people in the longer term than the myopic short term benefit. How we successfully navigate this political land mine and implement this very inflammatory but positive policy will task our political sagacity as leaders and may form the basis of future leadership acumen in this part of the globe.
Mohammed has been in the Nigerian news a lot lately also because of his role as former Chairman of the sub-committee on the policy framework on the Oil and Gas Industry Reform Committee. In that role, Mohammed has been working for a policy that would give Nigeria greater control over crude oil production and exploration, rather than be subservient to multinational corporations. This is understandably an exceptionally important and highly controversial and contentious area of policy-making.