The pace at which Commercial Bike Riders known as ‘Okada Riders’ are perpetrating violence and lawlessness in Makeni city and its environs has been described by police as “alarming” and “unacceptable.”
The recent spate of violence and lawlessness was demonstrated over the weekend when over hundred ‘Okada Riders’ manhandled one Denis Sesay of Masuba road in Makeni and his Wife, Lillian Bangura while they were travelling from Mabanta Road to the Masuba’s residence.
According to the complainants (Denis Sesay and Lillian Bangura), they hired the bike to take them to their Masuba residence for an agreed fare of Two thousand Leones (Le. 2,000). However when they arrived at their destination, the bike rider Saidu Jalloh demanded for three thousand Leones saying it was the agreed fare for the distance covered.
The argument over the one thousand Leones difference between the Okada rider and the couple led to the couple (Denis and Lillian) being hospitalised at the Makeni Government hospital with serious bodily injuries and pains.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that when the argument over the one thousand Leones difference was on, the bike rider Saidu Jalloh called his colleague riders informing them that the couple were trying to steal his okada from him. This misinformation from the bike rider to his colleagues developed into serious confusion as the converging bike riders upon arrival at the scene dutifully proceeded to manhandle the couple beating and dragging them from their Masuba road residence unto Rogbaneh road in Makeni.
It was the timely intervention of the Regional Chairman for Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) North, Stanley Bangura Jr. which saved the situation as he bravely insisted on escorting the beleaguered couple to the Rogbaneh police station. During the commotion while trying to move the couple to the police station, the irate bike riders stabbed the regional SLAJ chairman in his right hand.
Expressing his grievances over the pace at which commercial bike riders are perpetrating violence and lawlessness in the Makeni municipality, the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of Rogbaneh police station, Gibrill M. Kamara, pointed out that, this was the third ugly incident of lawlessness and rudeness being demonstrated by commercial bike riders in Makeni.
Local Unit Commander Gibrill M. Kamara confirmed receipt of complains of violence from Kalangba in the Gbedembu chiefdom, where bike riders beat up a transport driver who was plying the Kamakwei Makeni road. The LUC said, bike riders in his division are no respecter of law and order, which according to him is completely wrong.
Residents in Makeni are very worried and more concerned over the way and manner at which commercial bike riders are demonstrating violence in the municipality. They informed Awoko Newspaper that when ever a passenger has any misunderstanding with an okada rider in Makeni, his colleagues will not ask to understand the issue instead they will come with force and bully the passenger.
By Mohamed Kabba