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Okada Riders Flout Law Governing CBD

18,Apr 2018
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Okada riders like these are a nuisance and drive dangerously within the CBD

Following the emergence of a new government, commercial bike riders have seemingly taken advantage of the situation and returned to plying the central business district (CBD) despite the fact that the former Internal Affairs Minister in the out-gone APC government, Major Rtd. Palo Conteh had placed a ban stopping them from plying the CBD. The ban has not been lifted.

A random vox pop around the Cotton Tree area in the CBD indicated that ordinary people were not happy that okada riders were flouting the law and returned to the CBD. Salifu Kamara a court worker described the action of okada riders as illegal and criminal. He used the opportunity to call on the police to arrest okada riders that disobey the law.

He described the action of the riders as ‘willful’, adding that if they are allowed to continue plying the CBD, it would be difficult to stop them in future.

Another concerned citizen, Hannah Liverpool, said that the action taken by the then Minister of Internal Affairs was appropriate and timely because it restored sanity to Freetown and prevented accidents, especially in the Freetown CBD.

“That is why continuity in governance is very important. President Koroma’s government left behind some good policies that just need to be enforced by Pres. Maada Bio’s government and therefore the ban on commercial bike riders plying the CBD must be enforced,” Miss Liverpool said.

It could be recalled that on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 the Sierra Leone Police, presented a paper and a video clip on the “lawlessness of bike riders in the city” to a Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Internal Affairs, and called on the government to “ban commercial bike (okada) riders in the city, especially in the central business district (CBD) of Freetown.”

In his statement to the Oversight Committee, Director of Traffic, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Patrick Johnson, said commercial bike riders were a regrettable sight in the city as they are a nuisance because of their involvement in accidents, noting that the riders over-speed and have no respect for traffic rules as they ‘exhibit lawlessness’.

In May 2016, after a meeting with relevant stakeholders, including the Commercial Bike Riders Union, Sierra Leone Police, Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), Motor Drivers Union and the Freetown City Council, then Minister of Internal Affairs, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh enforced the Central Business District (CBD) regulation against all Commercial Bike (Okada) Riders, banning them within the CBD areas.

They have however returned to the CBD. This is evident each day.

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