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General News of Tuesday, 25 August 2020


Bureau of Public Safety welcomes Mahama’s intention to legalise, regulate Okada

File photo of an Okada rider on the streets File photo of an Okada rider on the streets

The Bureau of Public Safety has said the intention of the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the December elections, John Dramani Mahama, to legalise and regulate the use of motorbikes as commercial means of transport is a step in the right direction.

Executive Director of the Bureau, Nana Yaw Akwada, told GhanaWeb on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, that a complete ban on the commercial use of motorbikes as means transport (popularly known as Okada), has proven ineffective since 2012.

“We took the position two years ago that a complete ban on Okada is not the way to go, especially that we have in our law books as an illegality and it is being flaunted in our face day and night across the country.

“We have not demonstrated enough capacity to enforce that law so in the face of that, it is appropriate to actually legalise it; to give us the way to regulate it safely. So that call by the flagbearer is a good call so far as we are concerned – in spite of the nuisance, in spite of the numerous aspects of accidental deaths that arise out of this,” Mr Akwada told GhanaWeb in a telephone interview.

Ghana’s laws make it illegal for a motorbike to be used as a commercial means of transport, however, for about eight years, the use and popularity of Okadas have seen a sharp rise.

Also, from January to October last year, the National Road Safety Commission reported that 589 deaths came through motorcycle accidents.

Hence when the flagbearer of the NDC promised the chiefs and people of Kpando in the Volta Region to legalise and regulate the Okada business if given the chance to govern the country as President on December 7, there was an uproar of criticisms.

Many called the policy proposal populist and dangerous.

However, the Bureau of Public Safety told GhanaWeb that legalising the now prevalent activity of Okada is long overdue and “regulating it is a must.”

“The bigger issue is on how we are going to regulate the service, control the excesses, and bring down associated accidental deaths and that is where we should interrogate further with the proponent of that idea.

“When you say you will legalise and regulate, it is not enough. You need to tell the people what you mean by regulate because on the face of it; when you are regulating a service like Okada, definitely a few new things are going to come in. So we will have to educate new riders as well as existing car drivers and new car drivers and pedestrians,” Mr Akwada admonished.