‘Okada’ Men Convicted
The Accra Motor Court last Wednesday fined 16 ‘Okada’ operators a total of GH¢3,540, as the police vow to continue their operation to clamp down on the use of motorbikes for commercial transportation, contrary to the law. All the 16 were convicted on their own pleas of guilt, while one person who pleaded not guilty to flouting the law has been remanded in police custody. While bemoaning the inadequacy of the fines and pleading with the court to make them more punitive, the Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Angwubutoge Awuni, said his men would not retreat until the roads had been cleared of the ‘Okada’ lawlessness. “Every day we will arrest them until they stop what they are doing,” he told the Daily Graphic yesterday. The police impounded 23 commercial motorbikes and arrested 17 of the ‘Okada’ operators last Tuesday, moments after they had petitioned Parliament for a review of the law to allow the use of motorbikes for commercial transportation. Part IV, Section 128 of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2009 prohibits the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes. It also makes the ownership and patronage of commercial motorbikes or tricycles for commercial purposes illegal. However, citing various reasons, chiefly the creation of jobs for the youth, about 300 ‘Okada’ operators riding on their machines stormed Parliament last Tuesday to plead with the lawmakers to relax the law that prohibits their trade to enable them to make ends meet. But the MTTU Commanders says until the law is reviewed, the police will not allow the use of motorbikes for commercial transportation. Strengthened, perhaps, by a directive by President Mills to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest persons who indulge in the ‘Okada’ trade, ACP Awuni said the police would continue to arrest ‘Okada’ operators. He said in view of the low fines handed down to those who infringed the law, many of the ‘Okada’ operators, after paying the fines and collecting their motorbikes, returned to their unlawful commercial practices but noted that the police would not be deterred by that situation in their responsibility to enforce the law.
Source: Daily Graphic