Cameroon: Ban On Moto-Bikes - Worrying Causes, Effects

Photo: International Crisis Group
Cameroonian forces

Commercial Motor-bikes that hitherto were useful are today appearing dangerous.

The strong measure embossed last 8 March, 2018, by the new Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, to suspend movements of bikes in some localities of the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have gingered the talk of the day. The text banning the bikes is self-explanatory.

The Minister's ban, through a radio-press communique, could be seen as triggered by an attack on PCHS Batibo the previous day (7 March, 2018). The assailants, using Moto-bikes attacked the school to disperse and hijack students though they met a wall of the defence forces who retorted instantly and professionally but not without losing one element and wounding three students.

This incident only adds to some 27 elements of Cameroon's Forces already slain by assailants using commercial bikes. Commercial bikes are becoming deadly, even apart from their accidents on the highways. They are used by militia who carry guns to quickly attack and retreat.

In recent times Cameroon has suffered insecurity incidents from the four corners of its territory with perpetrators using the same means - the Motor-bikes. This means of transportation by bike, however useful and hitherto authorized by the high offices of the land, has been used to attack peaceful citizens, slain members of the forces and to spread unruliness. More to that, circulation has been a headache in such agglomerations like Muyuka, Douala, Yaounde, Kumba, Bamenda and the rest.

The only known city where authorities nipped the advent of commercial bikes in the bud by preventing it from plying the major streets was Buea under the then mayor, Mbella Moki Charles, who prophetically restricted the commercial bikes to the peripheries of the town. At the time the popular Mayor raised arguments to include fatal accidents given the hilly nature of the Buea city.

Otherwise, the commercial bikes have staged in all their colours suffering among themselves from the lack of organization and orderliness. Their unions are not strong enough to control their peers. They are usually people of a given class many of whom are alien to public order and decency.

Not only have many souls been lost from reckless driving of the bikers, overloading and sheer adventures have equally taken a toll. From the stand-point of administration, it has remained almost impossible to identify the various bikes through a perfect registration.

The riders of bikes do not readily have schools to train. So, it remains a free-for-all domain whereby riders train themselves while carrying out dangerous activities on the highways and major streets. To say the least, the identification of commercial riders remains problematic.

Worse still, the two-wheel machines have turned into a war arsenal as they can easily access areas without good roads. They can ply anywhere and rapidly disappear from sight achieving all their intentions.

The dangerous side of commercial bikes has certainly invited the decision by the Minister to ban commercial bike movements for 10 days in the South West to include Meme Division (Kumba I, II and III), in Fako (Muyuka), and the whole of Ndian Division. In the North West Region,a similar ban was slammed for Momo Division (the Sub-Divisions of Batibo and Widikum), in Ngoketungjia Division (the Sub-Division of Balikumbat).

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