6 February 2013

Liberia: Police, LMTU Clash Over 10pm Restriction

The Liberia Motorcycle Transport Union (LMTU) has vowed that it will no longer abide by the 10:00PM restriction that is being enforced by the Liberia National Police (LNP). The LMTU is the umbrella organization of motorcyclists, generally referred to as 'pen pen' riders in the country.

It can be recalled that during the festive season of 2012, the LNP and the LMTU signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) to impose the restriction on the movement of motorcycles across the country by 10PM. The move was aimed at reducing the high rate of crimes, especially armed robbery in the country.

According to the Secretary General of the LMTU, Mr. Robert Sammie, the time frame set for the execution of the 10PM restriction expired since January 15, 2013. Besides, Mr. Sammie claimed that some police officers were using the exercise to extort money from the motorcyclists, but he did not substantiate his claim against the police.

The LMTU chief scribe made these assertions recently when he spoke to reporters in Monrovia. Speaking further, the LMTU chief scribe maintained that the Union has resolved to disregard the restriction on grounds that it is over-due and that it has not reduced crimes. He said the Union will back any of its members who will violate the 10PM regulation.

He among other things added that the agreement between the LNP and the Union is no longer legal since one of the parties-LMTU has withdrawn from the process.

Meanwhile, the LNP has sharply reacted to the LMTU's Secretary General defiant assertions. A LNP release quotes Inspector General Chris Massaquoi as saying that the restriction remains enforced. He emphasized that the regulation remains effective, warning that anyone caught violating would be prosecuted.

Contrary to Mr. Mr. Sammie's claim, he stated that the 10PM regulation for 'pen pen' riders has dramatically reduced crimes especially armed robbery in Monrovia and other parts of the country. Commissioner Massaquoi further called on Liberians to be law-abiding. He said citizens should do nothing to stall the peace and security of the country.

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