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South West Cameroon:  Panicky Meme SDO lifts curfew on bike riders as pressure mounts

Commercial bikers in Kumba, Southwest Region have caused the Meme administration to reverse a six-hour ban on night riding imposed on them on July 5.

The bikers recently mobilised and gathered at the office of the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, to explain the negative effects the ban will have on their livelihood.

After listening to the riders, the Meme SDO, Chamberlin Ntou'ou Ndong, redirected them to the Kumba City Council where appropriate identification paraphernalia were issued to them.

The new reform that led to the imposition of the night curfew has segmented the bikers according to their Sub Divisions.

The Divisional Officers, DO, of the three Sub Divisions have been charged with the responsibility of issuing the chasubles to the riders after proper identification.

In reaction to the new move, Kumba III Divisional Officer, Gilbert Gubai Baldena, issued a radio announcement referenced No.02/rc/g.39/02/03, informing bikers and bike owners on the new changes.

 The announcement dated July 12, reminds the riders “that the wearing of regular chasubles only gives authority to motor-bike riders circulating from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM within the city of Kumba.”

 Riders and the owners of bikes are issued the uniform after a joint presentation of their national identity cards.

The reverse in the ban comes less than a week after the administration took the decision to ban night activities of commercial motorcyclist on June 5.

The action was unconnected to the partial burning of the frontage of the Kumba III DO’s Office and a vehicle of the Army Rescue Unit during the same weekend.

Observers interpreted the ban on night riding as a measure to pre-empt night movement of people of bad omen through the use of motor bikes.

Within the same week the ban came into effect, police in Kumba unmasked two separate gangs of armed robbers. One of the gangs had two motor bikes, which they used to facilitate their night operations.

A third gang arrested same week was specialised in the marketing of cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana or ''banga'' in Pidgin English.

The administrative ban only helped to provoke the Kumba City Council into taking its responsibility of issuing the said uniforms with identification numbers.

Once a bike is bought, it behoves on the owner to register it at the level of the City Council at the cost of FCFA 7000.

Part of the fee is used to purchase the uniforms, which makes commercial riders easy to trace.

The numbers on the uniform correspond to a data concerning the said machine and the rider.

In the administrative note uplifting the ban, the administration stated that the action was instituted for the purpose of strengthening security and order in the city.


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