Some residents of Montserrado County and its environs are expressing fear over last weekend’s lifting of restriction imposed on commercial motorcyclists here, saying that lifting the ban would bring more harm to peaceful citizens as a result of cyclists transporting armed robbers into communities at night.
The Liberia National Police under the administration of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf restricted motorcyclists to suburb communities, from plying the routes leading to the city center. But President George Manneh Weah thru the Inspector General of Police, ordered the ban lifted over the weekend in support of the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.
“The President has the right to make any decision without people questioning him, but he should be aware that any decision that he will make that will hurt citizens or put them at risk will be considered as his starting failure”, one resident argues.
Dickson Morris explains that the President’s intervention is something that will harm citizens. Appearing on a local radio talk show, he says though motorcyclists play a major role in the area of transportation, but they also facilitate criminals especially, armed robbers at night, adding that no one wants these guys not to make money for themselves, but some of them are involved in harming peaceful citizens.
But various callers, who phoned on the show from various districts in Montserrado, counter that the idea of lifting the ban on motorcyclists was a clear demonstration that President Weah’s Pro-poor agenda will be meet met. They maintain that it was not a bad idea, because motorcyclist themselves are Liberian citizens, and besides, some of them are breadwinners for their families.
When asked about other citizens appreciating the President for lifting the ban, Dickson argues that President Weah, in his right mind did the good thing, but the cyclists will not appreciate the President, adding that they will start carrying armed robbers at night, burning down police stations whenever there is an incident involving them and the police.
“We know these people, they will not change. Our cry here today is for our safety; we don’t want people attacking others at night, this is the kind of fear that we got”, Dickson expresses.
It may be recalled that in 2015, angry motorcyclists in Montserrado were banned from plying the main streets of Monrovia, except in various communities as the result of burning down a police sub-station in Paynesville, outside Monrovia during a riot.
The government through the LNP imposed the ban after a police officer was linked to the death of a motorcyclist, which led to tension between motorcyclists and officers of the Liberia National Police at Redlight junction in Paynesville. The motorcyclists alleged that their colleague was killed by a policeman, something which prompted them to set the sub-station ablaze.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne