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General News of Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Okada should be moved from city centres - Bureau of Public Safety

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 a sure way to prevent the associated road accidents with the use of motorbikes as commercial means of transport (Okada) is to move it away from sprawling city centres.

Executive Director of the public safety advocate, Nana Yaw Akwada, told GhanaWeb on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, that reports on Okada-related accidents show that majority of them happen in the busy urban areas.

His comments come on the back of a promise by the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, to regulate and legalise Okada if elected as President on December 7, 2020.

According to Nana Yaw Akwada, Mr Mahama “must tell us when you say regulating are you going to move them from the city centres? Which is what we at the Bureau prefer; because more than 80% of the deaths associated with the okada come from the city centres. And from the commercial spaces, not on our highways or the fringes.”

Ghana’s laws make it illegal for a motorbike or a tricycle (Aboboya) to be used as a commercial means of transport, however, for about eight years, their use and popularity have seen a sharp rise.

Critics point to various incidents of fatal accidents caused by Okadas as justification for a complete ban.

According to the National Road Safety Commission, from January to October last year 589 deaths recorded on Ghana's roads 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.”

“We have not demonstrated, as far back as 2012 till date, that we have the capacity to enforce the law. If you understand how society evolves, and how things evolve, then you already know that we have failed.

“As a public safety advocate, any effort to regulate it is a welcome step. We will not sit and bury our heads in the sand,” he said.





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