The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) issued public notice warning on commercial riders to desist from plying the Central Business District (CBD) effective Monday 14th September 2020, is a hoax.
It could be recalled that some years back during the APC rein, the SLP banned okada riders from entering the CBD but this ban became in effective after the 2018 elections which brought the ruling SLPP into power. According to Media 2 of the SLP, there was an agreement between the Bike Riders in desisting using the CBDs.
ASP Conteh blames commercial bike riders saying they are lawless adding that the central business district is not meant for commercial riders to ply considering the large population of pedestrians as well as vehicles in this area.
He argues that Okada riders are responsible for the accidents that mostly take place in the CBD noting that this magnitude of lawless has to be nipped in the bud this time around.
Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Bike Riders Union, Mohamed Nabieu described the public notice issued by the SLP as intimidating noting that they were not informed about the latest development with regards the ban.
He noted that the union has engaged their membership on series of training in order to reduce accident and other forms of lawlessness amongst riders. According to him, accidents rate has reduced drastically due to their constant engagement of these riders.
Nabieu called on the SLP to have a meeting with the union so that they can harmonize the issue for passengers not to be stranded to get to work on time as some workers use commercial bikes on a daily basis as the fastest means of transportation in the country.
With all the press release issued by the SLP commercial bikes are still plying the CBD with ease creating suspicious on how independent is the Sierra Leone Police in dealing with pressure from the public.
However, the Public Relation Officer reiterated that there is no law in the country’s law books banning commercial bikes from the CBD, adding that the moves by the SLP is in contravention with the rights of commercial riders who are in search of their daily bread.
“We are legal hustlers,” he said. “Some of our members are graduate holders but when there is no job they try to manage themselves in bike riding which temporary will take care of their families.
The national PRO recommended that they are going to put modalities in place so that riders plying the CBD put on reflective apron that can easily identify them when they cause any havoc while operating in the CBD area.
In sierra Leone, most youths are not employed that makes them turn to commercial riding to feed and take care of their families but it seems as if the police have been harassing them or confiscating their bikes and according to report, over eight thousand motor bikes have been auctioned by the SLP over the past years.
The Inspector General of Police who was the National Traffic Coordinator within the police force is believed to have the ability to sanitize the transport sector which needs reforms as passengers continue to strand for transportation.