Monrovia — The Executive Director of the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND), Mr. Roosevelt Woods, has blasted Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson for criticizing the Government of Liberia(GOL) new regulation against commercial motorcyclists.
FIND is an international human rights and pro-democracy organization operating in the country. Commercial motorcyclists are generally referred to here as 'Pehn-Pehn' riders.
According to Mr. Woods, it is uncalled-for for an official of government to condemn a regulation which borders on the protection of the rule of law.
He said it was bad for Senator Johnson to use the new regulation against motorcyclists to gain political relevance. He said the Nimba County Senator must support the government's stance because the senator is part of the government and therefore he must support the measure which is aimed at maintaining law and order in the country.
The FIND boss was speaking on Wednesday, November 6, 20123 when he was asked by this paper to comment on the government's latest restriction against motorcyclists in the country.
Senator Johnson, who is widely referred to as PYJ, condemned the government's restriction against the 'Pehn-Pehn' riders when he spoke on a local radio station early this week. He described the action by the government as untimely, saying it has security implication. However, he called on the government to relax the restriction so as to bring relief to the motorcyclists, whom he said, the public depends on for transportation.
It can be recalled that recently, the GOL through the Liberia National Police(LNP) in collaboration with the Ministries of Public Works and Transport issued new regulations forbidding motorcyclists from plying the main streets of Monrovia and its environs.
Among other things, the regulation states that 'pehn-pehn' riders are only allowed to convey passengers on feeder roads.
The government said its regulation is geared towards reducing the number of accidents and deaths in the city which have been caused by motorcyclists.
Thousands of people in and out of Monrovia heavily depend on motorbikes to convey them from one place to another. This latest restriction came on the heels of a tragic motor accident that led to the death of a 'pehn-pehn' rider on the Somalia Drive, outside Monrovia.
The incident also led to burning of a bus that was involved into the accident. The bus was burnt by some aggrieved 'pehn-pehn' riders in protest of the death of their colleague.
But Mr. Woods furthered that the regulation is in the right direction and called on all well-meaning Liberians to support the government's action.
Said Mr. Woods: "Even though this regulation is long overdue, I want to commend the government for the measure because it seeks to promote the rule of law in the country. The rule of law is the bedrock of democracy and henceforth nothing must be done to undermine it."
Continued Mr. Woods: "I think the measure will regulate the movement of motorcyclists and reduce, if not curtail, the number of accidents and deaths which have been caused by motorcyclists in the city. There is no one above the law- so they must abide by the measure. Although it is difficult, we will get used to it.
He urged the 'Pehn-Pehn' riders to be law abiding and avoid acts that have the propensity to undermine the country nascent democracy.
He also encouraged them to go where the government has directed to go and operate their motorbikes.