Motor riders (Okada) in Ashaiman have launched a protest against court fines they are to pay as a result of unlawful riding of motor cycles within the Ashiaman municipality.
The Police threw tear gas to control the protest march, which took the form of stone throwing, vandalizing and chanting thus bringing activities at the entire business district of the Municipality to a halt.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, after police had calmed the situation, the Ashaiman Divisional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Peter Gyimah, said school children in the Municipality even demonstrated against the rampant knocking down of pedestrians by motor cyclists which had taken an alarming tone.
“So we decided to educate the town folks and the riders about the dangers of riding carelessly adding, “We’ve been doing this for the past two weeks, so last Thursday, we decided we have to enforce the law, so we mounted an operation and arrested some of the riders,” ACP Gyimah said.
He said, they released those who had genuine documents like driver’s license, road worthy and insurance certificates, but sent those without those documents to court.
He said after the court dealt with them, they were waiting for them to come for their motor bicycles, but, “All we realized was that they were mobilizing themselves. I went there personally to find out what their problem was, and they complained about the charges of the court.”
ACP Gyimah observed that, after talking to them about why they could not ride motor cycles without proper documentation, they went away only to reconvene, “That was why we called for reinforcement and they came and dispersed them with teargas.”
He advised that anybody who wanted to ride a motor bicycle in Ashaiman had to make sure he had proper documentation else the Police would not allow it.
Mr. Tijani Mohammed, Chairman of Motor Riders Association of Ashaiman, reacting to the statement of the commander, said, “You know there are no jobs in Ashaiman, and our youth used their brains since 2008 to run this business. Whenever they have rallies, all the political parties use us, and they promised they would give us jobs when they come to power.”
He said they had earlier taken some of their men to court and had been fined various amounts ranging from 900 to about 1,300 Ghana Cedis.
He added that, “Last week they had an operation and arrested some of our boys with handcuffs and detained them for days and seized their motor cycles; we don’t know why.
Mr. Mohammed said, they were then sent to court and were fined between 880 Ghana Cedis to 2500 for one motor bicycle.”
“I appeal to the President to talk to the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), because the motor cyclists are working hand to hand with them. There are times we catch armed robbers, and that some of the police officers themselves promote the Okada business by owing some of the motor cycles.”
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