Ashaiman Residents Petition MCE Over Rising Okada Accidents
Some residents of Ashaiman have petitioned the Municipal Chief Executive about the surge in commercial motor-bike related accidents.
The activities of operators of these motorbikes popularly known as Okada are said to be making the streets of Ashaiman unsafe for other motorists and pedestrians alike. An increasing number of deaths and injuries are being recorded as a result of recklessness on the part of these riders.
Ashaiman is one of the densely populated areas in Greater region with an active okada industry. More than hundred residents including school pupils embarked on a peaceful walk to raise awareness about the activities of these Okada riders which are putting their lives at risk. Divisional Chief of Ashaiman, Nii Annang Adzor who led the exercise, wants the assembly to come out with effective ways of dealing with the menace.
“Okada is giving us a problem. It is deforming our people. People who were born normal, now some of them are disabled because of Okada. They are killing us. A new Presbyterian Pastor who was posted to Ashaiman Official town six months ago, was knocked down dead by an Okada. If we sit down unconcerned, it could be our turn tomorrow. Even if they are operating, under which rules? They don’t even have license but they are operating in Ashaiman and making money”, he lamented.
He also alleged that many of the Okada riders are foreigners making it difficult for them to learn and comply with regulations. “Some don’t even speak our local languages; they are from Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo. How can we communicate with them? You can see a car will stop for a pedestrian to cross but they’ll be driving through the middle of these cars and that’s what causes the accidents most of the time”, he said.
The walk ended with the presentation of a petition to the MCE for the area Albert Albert Boakye Okyere. Contained in the petition was a demand for the assembly to direct the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Police Service to deal decisively with okada riders who flout road traffic regulations. Receiving the petition, the MCE noted that the development was of great concern to the assembly as well. He assured the residents of increased effort towards reducing the number of accidents caused by activities of okada riders. “Most of the robbery cases that occur in Ashaiman are done on motorbikes and for that matter, after 11 pm, if any motorbike is seen in any part of this municipality, it shall apprehended by our police officers. We cannot sit down and allow people’s parochial interests to kill our cherished citizens”, he stated.
He also warned residents against patronizing the services of these commercial motor bike riders as they will be complicit in the crime. “I believe if people refuse to jump on these motorbikes, the business will not be lucrative anymore and that will be another way of checking them out. We advise people in Ashaiman not to join Okada. If the motor rider is arrested, you the passenger will not be spared either”, he warned.
Research conducted by some journalists within the Tema Metropolitan Area, led by Steven Bernard Donkor of Green Fm reveal that at least three deaths are recorded weekly with 15 deformities within Ashaiman alone through Okada accidents. An average of 98 people lose their lives every year, while 369 are rendered disabled as a result of this.