No Sensitization for new Bike Riders code of conduct
After several meetings held by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority, Sierra Leone Police Force and representatives of the Bike Riders Union, as well as other stakeholders, what has come out clearly is to have a new code of conduct that regulates the activities of Okada Riders in the country. Report states that most of these meetings held have not favoured the activities of the Riders, most of who are battling to get their daily survival under the State of Public Emergency. Although the new code of conduct will discourage arbitrary arrest from the Sierra Leone Police Force, report states that the Bike Riders are frowning at the launch of the code on Friday without any form of sensitization.
It was recently some Civil Society Organizations had to step in to seek the views of the new code amongst Bike Riders.
The three organizations: Sierra Leone Civil Rights Coalition, National Youth Coalition and Anti-Violence Movement are calling on the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that training activities are conducted for the Bike Riders to gain much knowledge of the code of conduct before its launch. “We are aware that the Bike Riders Executive is aware about the code but we have realized that majority of the Riders on the street have no knowledge about the new code,” says Alphonso Manley, Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Leone Civil Rights Coalition. He suggested that Government should empower the Executive of the Bike Riders Union to educate their members about the code so as to create a better understanding and prevent any unforeseen situation that may lead to chaos. Mr. Manley pointed out that launching the new code without any sensitization would not yield any positive dividend.
It was agreed in one of the meetings that the new code will ensure that the previous Memorandum of Understanding that spells out prohibited streets will be revisited. This is said to be negotiated in favour of the public, the police, SLRTA and the Okada Riders.
But most of the Riders interviewed by this press are of the opinion that the authorities concerns are not treating them seriously. Though they see the new codes as a way of formalizing Okada operation in the country, they are however of the view that most of the issues in the new code cannot be successfully achieved without sensitization.
A Statement from the Office of the Chief of Staff states that, “Government recognises that Okada Riders are providing a useful service in terms of their contribution to the transport sector on the one hand and the creation of employment for young people on the other.” The document further states that government sees the need to introduce additional measures to improve the formalization of their operations beyond merely granted them license.
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