Some motorists in Accra have threatened that they will opt for robbery should the DVLA and MTTD resort to their ban.
These motorists who call themselves ‘okada group’ stationed at Madina Station have called on the NPP Government to intervene on their behalf.
According to them, riding okada is what they do to feed themselves and families, notwithstanding helping ease traffic congestion in Accra.
Their cry follows a decision from the Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, to kick against the proposed legalization of the commercial use of motorbikes known as “Okada” operations.
They argued that the open sided nature of motorbikes exposes riders and patrons to danger and legalizing its commercial use could increase motorbike accidents which are already high.
The DVLA and MTTD suggested that mass transport, roads and other means of transport should be prioritized to enhance the transport system in the country instead of legalizing an operation which would promote lawlessness.
Some motorists in Madina, however, told Pulse.com.gh the Okada business is their only source of livelihood.
Ibrahim a 33-year-old rider told Pulse Ghana on Wednesday:
“We are helping the country greatly. If we should tell you the people who come here for our services, you would baffle. This morning we had a police officer, bank manager, lawyer and a soldier come for us to take them to Accra but I told my boys to refuse because they were arresting Okada riders in Accra.”Chairman of the Okada group named Morro, added:“We thought we were voting for change, now that the change is here Nana wants to ban Okada. Nana Addo please we are pleading with you, allow us to do our work in peace.”
Musah Adama, a motorist with the group said “We are here helping people and easing traffic and DVLA wants us banned, no problem. We would just gather in front of banks and rob people to survive. I just don’t understand why they won't leave us alone. When you go to Kumasi, you would see a lot of robbers there who have been left unarrested but here we are working and you claim you want to ban it. What is the reason?”
Pulse.com.gh also spoke to other people who had different opinions to the ban or legalization.
Madam Magdalene, a cosmetic dealer at Madina mentioned that “ these riders should be banned. They are the major cause of accidents in the country lately. They should be banned.”
Kwaku Osei also said his concern was the way some of them are careless with their driving. He continued that many of them are thieves as well, snatching bags when passengers are not even looking.
However, Nana Osarfo argued that "Okada business is someone’s job and so it is important that government puts regulations in place."
“We should remember that people are complaining of unemployment in the country already. If they should ban the riders, we should ask ourselves where would they go?” Osarfo questioned.
Meanwhile some Members of Parliament (MPs) from rural constituencies, on the floor of Parliament on Friday, February 10 that motorbikes were faster, convenient and cost effective means of transport in their constituencies.
According to the MPs , Okada operations had become a source of livelihood for many rural folks and legalising and regulating it would create jobs and improve the transport system especially in the rural areas.