6 February 2013

Liberia: 10pm Restriction - Constructive Engagement, Not Threats


There continue to be few calls from certain quarters of the Liberian society, including executives of the Liberia Motor Cyclists Union for the lifting of the 10pm restriction on the activities of motor cycles in Monrovia and its environs. The calls are characterized by condemnations, astonishingly by a few individuals at the Liberian Legislature, of the Liberia National Police. Individuals condemning the Police are attributing their actions to the fact that the restriction was hampering the free movement of people, including the cyclists after 10pm.

The leadership Liberia Motor-Cyclists Union-the umbrella organizations of all motor-cyclists in the country, in a statement issued in Monrovia Monday, threatened a mass action against the restriction if the police did not lift it, saying they would appear in the streets of Monrovia after 10pm. They also suggested that the restriction was not achieving its objective of eliminating crimes, including armed robbery.

But the Liberia National Police continues to insist that the restriction would remain enforced, and that there would be no adjustment or whatsoever. The ban was imposed in December 2012 amid increase in crimes, including armed robbery incidents facilitated by motor-cyclists during late night and early morning hours. The same leadership of the Liberia national Motor-Cyclists Union now threatening defiance of the restriction, publicly concurred with the justifications provided by the Liberia National Police for its decision and supported the 10pm ban.

Beginning now to cry wolf is a situation with which many well-meaning Liberians would find difficult to accept. To even suggest, during a news conference hosted on Monday, February 4, 2012, that the 10pm restriction imposed by the police is yet to achieve its objective is something that beats the imagination of every well-meaning Liberian.

In as much as the ban has not eliminated heinous crimes, including armed robbery, many peaceful citizens and residents continue to sleep well at late night and early hours because motor-cyclists who perpetrated or facilitated these crimes no longer have the opportunity to do so. In order words, crimes during these hours of the day are reduced, and that's a major achievement of the 10pm restriction..

What many would have thought that the leadership of the Motor-Cyclists Union would have done was to constructively engage the authorities of the Liberia National Police for an adjustment of the 10pm ban, and not to completely lift it. In so doing, a communication would have been addressed to the LNP followed by a meeting of the minds on the matter, instead of the defiant posture chosen by the Union's leadership.

While the Union may think it has constitutional backing on his position, it must also understand that the police too, under the law, is empowered to protect lives and property within the borders of Liberia, and must so intervene when the lives of Citizens and residents are endangered by hardened criminals pretending to be motor-cyclists.

It is actually unfortunate that the decision may be affecting the innocent ones, but in the interest of the security and safety of peaceful citizens and residents of Monrovia and its environs, the Motor-cyclists Union could work closely with police authorities not to suspend the 10pm restriction, but readjust. It is no doubt that with such constructive engagement by the Motor-cyclists Union with authorities of the LNP, a common ground can be found.

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