Thousands Go Jobless As SDO Bans Bikes In Fako

A release signed on January 16, by the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO for Fako Division, Emmanuel Engamba Ledoux, has placed a ban on the use motorbikes in the Division.

This decision has rendered thousands of bike riders unemployed as they depended solely on their bike riding business for sustenance. Although the SDO’s January 16 release discloses that this measure is necessary to maintain peace and order in the division, it potentially makes these riders (mostly youths) vulnerable to joining separatist activities.

“I doubt how life will be for those riding bikes for a living; no jobs, yet the little one people can have something from is what government is prohibiting without replacement,” said Tita Foncham.

The SDO’s recent release empowers Divisional Officers, Mayors, and Forces of Law and Order to ensure strict implementation of the ban across the different localities in Fako Division. Insight244 gathered that security officials roamed Tiko Municipality on Tuesday, January 19, ensuring the implementation of the ban.

This is not the first time a ban on motor bikes has been placed in the South West region. The late Mayor of Buea Municipality, Ekema Patrick Esunge, had banned the circulation of commercial bikes in Buea municipality. His decision was triggered by the on-going Cameroon Anglophone Crisis, which has been rocking the Northwest and Southwest English Regions of Cameroon for the past four years. The ban was widely criticised but current Mayor, David Mafany Namange, has also been enforcing the decision following separatists’ attacks in the municipality.

The demise of Ekema Patrick Esunge and the ascension of David Mafany Namange as the new mayor of Buea Municipality gave hope to some Buea bike riders who thought the ban would be uplifted but nothing has been done to uplift it

The SDO’s ban has equally received public backlash on social media. Neba Scott is one of those who question what will now become of commercial biker riders since they generate their income from the activity.

“How will these biker riders feed their families? he questioned.
Another individual, Jerry Dugarson, asked if the SDO is going to assist the riders to pay their monthly meeting contributions commonly known as “njangi”.

Some inhabitants of Fako say banning the circulation of motor bikes would equally make transportation in and out of most quarters and localities difficult. Bikes are mostly used to transport people and luggage over short distances especially in places where the roads are not motorable. The banning of bikes would mean individuals would rely solely on trucks to carry their wares to interior areas, especially in the Muyuka Subdivision.

By Neville Mesumbe

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