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General News of Thursday, 20 December 2012

Source: The Ghanaian Times

‘Okada’ Business Booms-Police Seem Helpless

The use of motor bikes for commercial purposes has become a booming business in Accra, ahead of the Yuletide, in spite of the law banning it.

The practice is popularly known as Okada.

Their patronage has been due to the heavy traffic jam in the capital city.

A number of people who go shopping prefer the services of the Okada riders to reach their destinations.

In view of the terrible traffic, some workers also use the okada, instead of trotro and other public transport services to avoid reporting for work late.

Speaking to The Ghanaian Times one of the okada riders, Sule Adam said the patronage of their services slowed down during the electioneering period due to the ban and the fear of motor riders snatching ballot boxes, but remarked that after the election, business is picking up.

“Yes I can say the business is picking up since most of the passengers prefer hiring us to their places of work and the various shopping centres, especially in the mornings because we are able to maneuver our way through the traffic,” he stressed.

According to him, his daily sales have increased from GH¢50 to GH¢100 daily and described it as lucrative.

He said he charged between GH¢2.00 and GH¢5.00 depending on where the passenger would alight.

Mr. Amediagbe who has operated from Odorkor to Circle told the Ghanaian Times that the Christmas season has boosted his business. “Because people want to avoid the traffic in town they were prepared to pay any price just to arrive at their destinations on time”.

“It has made travelling easier even though there was risk involved, a trader at Kaneshie told the Ghanaian Times.

A trader, who gave his name as Yaw Nsiah, said he preferred to board the Okada because it was faster as compared to mini-buses and taxis during this Yuletide.

When contacted on the issue, Assistant Commissioner of Police, (ACP) Angwubutoge Awuni, Commanding Officer of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) expressed concern about their activities saying, “Okada is still illegal in the country and those who engage in such acts should desist because it is dangerous”.

He said the fact that the Christmas season and other activities have created some traffic jam in the city did not mean okada riders should take advantage of the situation to operate.

He said currently, the police have embarked on public education to explain Legislative Instrument L.I. 2080, which stipulates the vigorous and effective enforcement of Road Traffic Act and Regulations. He explained that the police started enforcing the law but had to suspend to properly educate the public on the L.I.