Some okada riders, aboboyaa and ‘pragiyaa’ operators within the Kasoa enclave in the Awutu Senya East Municipal District have called for the legalization of their business.
They made this demand at a press conference organized by the Okada Riders Association today, September 2, 2020, which saw over 500 Okada, aboboyaa and pragiyaa operators converge at Kasoa Datus Park.
Addressing the conference, the Deputy National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Adande Kojo, stated that government “should legalize it and enforce the laws. They should give us a unique number plate which differentiates private riders from fare-carrying riders so that persons who commit crimes can be easily tracked”.
The PRO added that, okada riders should be given uniforms of diverse colours based on the station one works from. He believes that with these features in place coupled with effective enforcement of the laws, people would be cautious not to use ‘okadas’ to commit crimes.
Kojo Adande further argued that per their data, okada riders in Ghana are over 800,000 with 4,000 members in Kasoa: the venture is the only source of livelihood for them and their families.
Section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 states that, “the licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger”, however, the okada association noted that they are giving all political parties a one-week ultimatum to declare their intentions on the legalization of okada as a business venture.
Mr. Adande also debunked allegations that okada riders don’t adhere to motor and road traffic regulations.
Some of the riders who later spoke to Angel FM’s Odehye Kwaku Asiedu also lamented that the police are a torn in their flesh disturbing the smooth operation of their business.
An okada rider reechoed concerns of his colleagues: “The police and other security personnel have okadas operating for them and they take sales, so they should stop harassing us”.
In the meantime, the flagbearer of the NDC, John Mahama, has declared his intention to legalize the okada business as he addressed chiefs and the people of Kpando in August.
This generated a public debate where some people, including the Okada Riders Association, have welcomed the decision, while a cross section of the public also believe it is just a promise to win votes.