Motorbike ban cripples economy of Anglophone Regions

Inconsistency in Government policy is beginning to catch-up with its purveyors as an estimated 2,000 youths in the Northwest and the Southwest Regions whose fate had been tied to commercial motorcycle riding that even the Head of state had glorified as immediate solution to unemployment now face the possibility of a rudderless fate, following administrative decision banning their circulation outright.
The vicinities affected include Batibo, Widikum and Balikumbat Sub-Divisions of the Northwest Region and Mundemba, Ekondo-Titi, Mbonge, Konye, Kumba II and III under the Southwest Region. The decisions were signed by the Governors of the respective Regions.
According to the indefinite order, the circulation of motor bikes is suspended and any violators shall be prosecuted according t the laws in force. The same order tasks the Senior Divisional Officers, SDOs, of the affected places as well as security operatives are charged with the implementation of the order.
The ban has raised eyebrows across Anglophone Cameroon as many fear it shall go a long way to radicalize the youths who have already been asked to stay home every 8pm and resume work only at 5am.
According to Stanley Timo, economics teacher in Bamenda, the Governors’ decisions need a rethink. “My exposure to the two Anglophone Regions shows that since the coming of the motor bikes, every Sub-Division has embraced it as a major means of transportation with over 150 youths in each Sub-Division indulging into the sector to make a living. If now the Governors sign orders banning such activity, which many now look up to as means of survival I think they are just out to inflict more misery and pain on the youths.
Philemon Tih, a councillor in Bamenda thinks that it is a blow to the politicians. “It is a major blow to the politicians. Many of them often use these bike riders in campaigns and noise making. Given that we are in an election year and the governor banning bikers in some of the Sub-Divisions is a well calculated move to completely radicalize these youths, trigger voters’ apathy and completely discourage them from voting in the upcoming elections.
Like, Philemon Tih, Susana Nimbu, resident of Travellers neighbourhood says such administrative decisions are unfriendly to women and to the households. “How can they come up with such a decision at this time? Bikes have been able to transport labouring women to the maternity at midnight. They transport foodstuff to the market, beating inaccessible roads to all corners. Parents have been able to send children to school, take care of their wives and pay school fees, thanks to the coming of the bike sector.
“When you now say, no bikes will the same Government do all these?,” she wandered.
In Ndian Division, the only means of reaching Toko Sub-Division from Mundemba is by commercial motorcycle. The same holds for the maritime areas as the roads have been impassable for normal vehicles in the past three years.
Some have been quick to aver that this is an indirect way to deprive opposition politicians from campaigning. But this might unfortunately have a boomerang effect during elections of sovereign import like presidential, municipal and parliamentary, when the now alienated youths will seek their pound of flesh.
By Jean Marie Ngong Song

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