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HomeLocal NewsOkada Riders’ Impasse Calls for Government Intervention

Okada Riders’ Impasse Calls for Government Intervention

Following series of disturbances at the Sierra Leone Road Safety office at Kissy Road where commercial bike riders attacked the office and destroyed properties belonging to the authority; and which continued at Congo Cross and Lumley Police stations onto Jui etc. in Freetown, concerned citizens and people affected by these disturbances are urging the government to hurriedly resolve the issue before it gets out of hand.

Commercial bike riders are vehemently angry over the impounding of their bikes plying the Central Business District (CBD) areas in Freetown. On Thursday 22nd April, 2021 these bike riders went on the rampage in Freetown in their hundreds demanding the release of their impounded bikes. The police however tried to prevent the situation from degenerating into violence and called for reinforcement to quell the situation but not before damage had been inflicted on the SLRSA premises.

The bike riders also stormed the Ministry of Youths to complain about alleged police harassment, extortion and arrest in the CBD. It could be recalled that the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) in collaboration with the traffic division of the Sierra Leone Police on the 21st April 2021 commenced a joint operation to clamp down on lawless bike riders with the objective of decongesting the Central Business District. In other words, the operation was undertaken in an effort to make way for the free flow of traffic in the Central Business District,

The operation was spearheaded by SLRSA’s Deputy Executive Director, James B. Bio, with support from the Director of Traffic Management and Road Safety, Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG Kapri Saidu Kamara. On his part, James B. Bio, said the operation is a presidential directive which is in line with SLRSA’s drive to decongest the CBD for a free flow of traffic. The SLRSA Deputy Executive Director said the many bikes plying within the CBD has become a security concern and is causing so much trouble for law enforcement agencies like the SLP and the SLRSA.

“The proliferation of motorbikes plying the CBD is a serious security challenge to law enforcement agencies. We at SLRSA do have a duty to clamp down on whatever affects our operations and that of the livelihood and safety of other road users,” James B. Bio said .The Director of Traffic Management and Road Safety, AIG Kapri Saidu Kamara, said the mandate of the Sierra Leone Police is to protect life and property plus anything connected to those. He said as a traffic law enforcement body, the SLP finds the proliferation of motor bikes in the CBD as very worrisome and the situation do pose a lot of challenges in executing their mandate.

He further maintained that the operation is a presidential directive and that the SLP is mandated to execute it to the letter in order to restore sanity on the roads. Abdul Karim Dumbuya, Head of Communications and Outreach at SLRSA said the joint operation team on the 21st April 2021 apprehended about 150 commercial and private motor bikes within the Central Business District for violation of various traffic laws and each owner would be penalised according to the dictates of the law. He however maintained that the operation is ongoing and the public would be updated accordingly. He said SLRSA is committed to ensuring the safety of all road users.

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