Regional News of Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Source: Graphic Online
Scores of taxi drivers in Accra yesterday blocked part of the Accra-Nsawam road to protest what they described as persistent harassment by members of the Traffic Security Task Force of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA). The drivers blocked the Abeka Junction on the Accra-Nsawam road for over two hours, a situation which created traffic congestion and caused much inconvenience to the public.
Some of the drivers complained that a directive from the AMA to all taxi drivers in the metropolis to register with particular lorry stations or join a transport union was not feasible.
According to the drivers, complying with that directive would negatively affect their work and daily sales.
The drivers said they were fed up with the increasing harassment and extortion by the AMA task force and vowed to continue with the protest till the AMA rescinded its decision to arrest them for not operating from particular stations.
According to them, they decided to demonstrate in front of the Peace FM building, which also houses UTV, because reporters from the two media houses would call the attention of other media houses to the protest and in the process send their petition to President John Mahama for his intervention.
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene, the taxi drivers, in red armbands, were chanting anti-AMA slogans.
With their vehicles firmly blocking the intersections in front of the Peace FM building at the Abeka Junction, the drivers caused heavy vehicular congestion, particularly from Achimota to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and the vice versa.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a driver, Kwesi Prempeh, said the AMA asked them to go for the embossment of AMA stickers, get city driving licences and pay AMA tax, which they had always complied with.
He explained that it was not feasible and “sensible” for all taxi drivers to operate from a particular lorry station because, “in the first place, the lorry stations are already in deplorable states and congested and also not all passengers can walk long distances to the nearest lorry station”.
Mr Paul Nimba, who wore a red pair of trousers and had a red band around his head, told the Daily Graphic that “there is no country in the world where you have taxis parked at taxi stations. That defeats the purpose of the taxi concept”.
But for the timely intervention of some of the drivers and the police, the situation would have turned nasty and bloody, as some people with different motives wanted to take advantage of the situation to pick the pockets of some passengers.