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Okada riders’ push for legalization of their operations

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Commercial motorbike operators are unanimous in their call for the legalization of their activities.

According to them, the business has created income opportunities for thousands of households.

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At Madina Zongo junction, one of the busiest areas for motorbike operators, 32-year-old Abdul Razak Aziz alias ‘Big Apple’ and his friends have created a bike station. The station is more evident and busier during rush hours.  Big Apple has been doing this for more than four years

He made it known that ‘this is all we have and it is the only means of earning a living.’

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Big Apple makes on average two hundred cedi’s (GHȻ200) daily – so do his other counterparts. They are able to feed themselves and their families.

“We wake up every day, knowing we have a job that can keep us away from crime. We can buy clothes, food and cater for our dependents,” Big Apple said.

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Though their operations are illegal, they have managed to mainstream it due to high demand for patrons on the go.

Ghana’s Road Traffic Regulations passed in 2012, L.I 2180 prohibits the commercial use of motorbikes and motor cycles.

Regulation 128 (1) states that the “Licensing Authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger

It also states that a “person shall not permit a motorcycle or tricycle which that person exercises control to be used for commercial purpose, except for courier and delivery services

Section 128 (3) further stipulates that “a person shall not ride on a motorcycle or tricycle as a paying passenger.”

But many patrons prefer this means of transport, despite the risks.

Ishmael uses patronizes okada often. He says it is a faster means of transport.

“When you are running late for work, it is the surest way to beat city traffic. So I use it,” he said

Big Apple believes legalizing their operations would bring them relief. Twenty-eight year-old Ibrahim Don TF agrees and welcomes NDC flag bearer John Mahama’s promise.

“We have heard John Mahama make the promise, we are happy about it. We hope he fulfills it when he gets elected,” he noted.

“Because this business benefits everybody. The politicians, lawyers, doctors, nurses, businessmen, I mean everyone.”

But while they await this policy change, they have to deal with law enforcers.

Big Apple said “we are unable to stop at the traffic lights when they turn red because of the police. They approach you from behind once you stop and take out your key.”

He added, “they will harass you and ask for your documents. They would still take money from you even if you have all the documents.



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