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Last Updated: Sep 21st, 2011 - 17:36:53 
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17 Garrison Street,
Freetown,
Sierra Leone.
Tel: +232-77-772001
Tel: +232-88-321000
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EDITORIALS  

It is Wise to Restrict Reckless Okada Riders!
By Awareness Times
Sep 21, 2011, 17:14
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No one can deny the fact about the significance of Okada tranports in Freetown and other towns and villages in Sierra Leone. It will be an understatement to say Okada operators are not easing the pains of commuters because of the unavailability of public transport in the country.

 

Even owners of private vehicles can attest to this fact. Though many private transport owners rarely use Okadas to shuttle to and fro in their daily routines, the fact remains that Okadas, as bike riders are known locally, play a pivotal role for every Bendu and Bundu in Sierra Leone. 

 

The Awareness Times is convinced that the Ministry of Transport is one important stakeholder that benefits immensely in the operations of Okadas. Since the Transport Ministry is accruing financial gains from those operating Okadas, we believe this ministry and other stakeholders must put a mechanism in place to control Okada riders. Believe it or not, Okadas are lawless at the moment! 

 

Okada transportation came into existence in Sierra Leone just after the ten-year-old brutal war. The name Okada originates from Nigeria, where this form of transportation has been in operation for many years. People love Okadas because it is faster and can get you to any destination on time. No wonder Okadas are more appreciated in our cities, towns and villages in Sierra Leone today.

 

Notwithstanding, this newspaper is a strong advocate for law and order. It is very disappointing to see Okada riders flouting the laws of our land at every twist and corner without any regard to traffic rules. Okada riders like to behave like the only owners of our roads. We are worried that such a negative attitude has been tolerated in the country for so long. Where are the transport authorities and enforcement agencies who are the main beneficiaries of Okada riding financial wise?

 

In the city of Freetown and other provincial cities, Okada riders have continued to cause more harm than good within the past two to three years. The poor and gallopy roads in the country have not helped the situation either. The number of accidents caused by Okada riders has increased astronomically. Research has revealed that Okada riders are noted for being the most careless and irresponsible road users in the country. Okada riders do not care how they ride, they always swing and waggle between cars, breaking traffics rules at will. At the Emergency Hospital in Goderich, record has confirmed that around 40% of their patients are bike riders. Sometimes victims of their reckless riding are killed! At times their recklessness results to unimaginable accidents causing multiple fractures of innocent pedestrians and other road users.

 

Many people who are breadwinners of their families have lost their lives or have sustained fractures that have left them disabled for life. If the country continues to lose such individuals as a result of reckless Okada riders, what will become of Mama Salone in the future?

 

We believe that even though Okada transport is more welcomed in the country, government must not allow lawless bike riders to go unpunished. Yes, Okadas are beneficial, less expensive and timely but they must be made to obey traffic rules and regulations and more importantly respect their fellow road users.

 

It is against this backdrop that this newspaper is appealing to the government through the transport ministry and other stakeholders to bring some sanity into the small brains of these Okada riders. If these Okada riders are stationed at designated spots, with the presence of law enforcers like the police, we think it will be a wise move to control reckless bike riding in our midst. Proper training and sensitisation programmes for Okada riders must be instituted.

 

Any Okada rider who breaks the law must be fined, punished and if possible jailed. And their licences must be seized for a given period. We believe these measures will surely halt their reckless use of the roads. Please restrict them now before it is too late.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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