One Year After Ban: Buea Bike Riders Wallow In Hardship

By Kesah Princely & Paul Njie, In Buea

Commercial Motorbike riders in the Buea Municipality are living under horrendous conditions, one year after an indefinite ban on their activities by the Mayor of the Buea Council.

Some bike riders who solely depended on their bikes for livelihood told TWIF NEWS that since they were prohibited from circulating the town, they have been unable to fend for their families.

On August 31, 2018, the Mayor of the Buea Council, Ekema Patrick Esunge declared an indefinite ban on the activities of commercial motorbike riders in his municipality; it was initially meant to be temporary, as per the Mayor’s communique.

According to the Mayor, the prohibition on the circulation of motorbikes was because of “the high level of insecurity perpetrated mostly by motorbike riders,” and the “notorious manner in which motorbike riders facilitate the kidnapping and abduction of our denizens.”

Buea Mayor, Ekema Patrick

A bike rider in Bomaka who was affected by the ban told TWIF NEWS that the mayor’s action has crippled him financially. He parked his bike at home and is now doing a menial job to sustain himself and his family. His bike was his main source of finance, but the ban changed his life negatively.

Another rider in Muea said the action has frustrated most of them. He told TWIF NEWS that life has been unbearable since he stopped working with his bike. He left Muea and transferred to Buea Town; since then, he has been jobless. He barely sustains his family by pushing a wheelbarrow on some market days.

While a good number of bike riders are suffering the effects of Mayor Ekema’s order, others have moved on. A fomer rider in Buea said even if the Mayor were to lift the ban, he would not return to his former job but advised that the problem of police harassment on commercial motorcycle riders be addressed, if the ban were to be lifted.

TWIF NEWS reached out to the Buea Council for comment on whether there are any plans to overturn the decision to prohibit the circulation of mortor bikes in the municipality.

“No. It’s [motorbikes] officially no more. It’s an indefinite ban and the population is instead satisfied with the ban,” the Public Relations Officer of the Buea Council, Oscar Lingongo told TWIF NEWS.

TWIF NEWS spoke to some residents in the municipality and most of them were dissatisfied with the move. They said the bike riders used to transport them to areas where taxis could not access.

The Buea Council claimed that bike riders facilitated kidnappings perpetrated by separatist fighters, but one year after the ban, the spate of kidnappings is still on the rise.

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Published by TWIF NEWS

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