Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs Major (rtd) Alfred Palo Conteh has urged the Local Unit Commanders (LUCs) of the Sierra Leone Police in the Western Area to monitor the activities of commercial motorbike riders so as to ensure adherence to the code of conduct and regulations for such bike riders. He was speaking at a press conference called in his ministry’s conference room on Monday June 6th 2016.
Palo Conteh warned the LUCs against the failure or noncompliance of the riders to wear helmets. He also warned Police to be on the lookout for those riding without valid licenses, stressing that he will come down heavily on police officers who neglect their duties in that regard.
He informed the gathering about riders riding in the prohibited areas after 6 p.m. He therefore called on the police to put in necessary measures to forestall such act by the riders, adding that police duty is twenty four hours job and cut across all sector of the Force. He encouraged the police to use all necessary measures to ensure that the war is won hundred percent. Public he maintained is on the side of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Government of Sierra Leone therefore they need not relent.
Minister Conteh further told the police to discipline even the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) personnel who flout the laws, reiterating that no one is above the law. He expressed determination to deal with just one soldier who will go against the law as an example being old soldier himself, but promised to engage the Deputy Minister of Defence on the matter for memo to be sent to the least military officer whilst simultaneously waiting to lay hands on defaulting military personnel. Total compliance he said is required from everybody in order to win the fight therefore he assured of leaving no space for meandering in the fight. The Internal Affairs Minister noted okadas can come back to the prohibited areas when he is out of the Ministry.
Rtd Major Conteh stressed on the high degree of lawlessness of the riders but cautioned them to stop the blamed game and finger pointing and abide by the laws. The police he said are doing their jobs and do not hate the riders, he assured the police of full support to ensure indiscipline is kicked out of the country.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police who is the Acting Inspector General Richard Moigbeh explained that every sector of the Police Force has been active in the fight against lawlessness and indiscipline.
He informed the gathering on meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of RSLAF on the issue of soldiers refusing to comply with the traffic rules but further said the CDS has agreed to provide Military Police (MPs) as back up in strategic locations in Freetown to arrest soldiers who refuse to comply with the laws. He encouraged the LUCs to implement the laws as directed by the Minister.
Dr. Sarah Bendu-Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) frowned at the attitude of military officers who break the laws noting they are suppose to be people who abide with the law and not offend it especially to the extent of scuffling a senior police officer. She informed the audience of the change of name of her personnel from traffic wardens to Road Safety Guards.
David Sesay-President of Bike Riders Union informed the gathering of compliance by his men for the wearing of crash helmet, and further told the audience about the printing of blue t-shirts for executive members of BRU and maroon colour T-shirts for ordinary members.
This he said is one of the measures his executive is putting in place to curb lawlessness. He emphasized the usefulness of the riders and their contribution to the running of the State, he assured of his men not going against the law but maintain the status quo.
The meeting was attended by officials from bike and motor drivers union, SLRSA, Trade and Political Affairs Ministries, Office of chief of Staff- State House and the Ministry.