52 Okada Riders Punished

Fifty-two out of 76 commercial motorbike riders and pillions who were arrested in Accra in a recent operation have been fined GH˘21,000. The riders, also known as “okada operators”, paid fines ranging between GH˘240 and GH˘960. Six of the motorbikes used by the riders have been confiscated to the state. Currently, there are four cases before the court, while 20 cases are still under investigation. The Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Angwubutoge Awuni, made this known to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra Friday. The MTTU started an operation on March 18, 2013 to enforce the law which bans the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes after the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, had charged the police to do so. The Traffic Regulation 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180) passed by Parliament bans commercial motorbike operations. The law also bans the use of television or video monitors on the dashboards of moving vehicles. The instrument further bans the use of cellular phones and other hand-held communication devices while driving. ACP Awuni urged the government to give a percentage of the fines paid by the riders to the MTTU to equip itself. “The unit has inadequate tools and equipment such as speed guns and alcohol sensors to enhance its work and operations. Therefore, the government should consider giving it some percentage to resource the unit,” he said. He said the operation would continue, in spite of the intervention of some people in high places and demonstrations by the riders. “We will continue to enforce the law and discharge our duties without fear or favour,” he said. ACP Awuni said the police had started another operation to arrest motor riders who rode on the shoulders of the road and motorists who used hazard light without justifiable reason. He said individuals and organisations, including some private and national security services and the ministries, that used sirens unlawfully would be arrested. He said driving on the shoulders of the road constituted an act of indiscipline and, therefore, advised motor riders to desist from that practice.