Taxi Drivers On Rampage
SIX taxi drivers, believed to be leaders of a group demonstrating against a directive by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) asking floating commercial drivers to join a recognised union before operating within the metropolis, were yesterday picked up by the Tesano Police.
A group of floating taxi drivers, numbering about 100, yesterday besieged the premises of Peace Fm at the Abeka Junction in Accra protesting against the directive from AMA that with effect from yesterday Tuesday October 1, 2013 all commercial drivers should belong to a union before they were allowed to operate in the city.
The drivers yesterday blocked the main Abeka junction road depriving other motorists from using the road for more than an hour.
It took the intervention of the Tesano Police to clear the road for other road users.
The leaders arrested included Stephen Asare, Williams Kwesi Amponsa, Eric Anane, all from Ofankor.
The rest are George Owusu from Nyamekye, Samuel Okyere , Dansoman, and Abraham Ackon both from Dansoman.
Briefing DAILY GUIDE about the arrest yesterday, Chief Superintendent Francis Aboagye Nyarko, the Tesano Divisional Police Commander, said police received information around 11:15am yesterday that some demonstrating taxi drivers had blocked the Abeka junction road just in front of Peace Fm.
Police quickly moved to the scene to find out what was amiss.
The six leaders were immediately picked up by the police and brought to the station for questioning.
The leaders then told the police that they were protesting against the directive issued by the AMA, ordering all ‘floating’ commercial drivers to belong to a recognised union, such as GPRTU, Protoa, and Co-operative, among others, before they were allowed to operate in the metropolis starting October 1, 2013.
The drivers said they besieged Peace Fm to demonstrate because the announcement was made at that station.
Police then educated the drivers about the public order act which made it an offence to demonstrate without seeking clearance from the police and so the leaders realising that they had breached the law, advised their colleagues to leave the scene immediately.
He said the police later released the leaders arrested and warned them not to demonstrate again but follow the due process before they embarked on any demonstration.
Meanwhile, William Kwesi Amponsah, spokesperson for the drivers, said the new by-law was being implemented by the AMA, Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Ga West, Ga East and other assemblies.
According to him, per the law, any floating driver who does not register with any of the unions will not be allowed to operate in the metropolis.
‘We have tried our best to join the unions but anywhere you go, they tell you, they have closed registration.
Those who are willing to register you are charging GHâ‚µ500 to GHâ‚µ1,000, an amount we can also not pay,’ he added.
‘AMA collected monies from them for the embossment; we pay annually for AMA licence, income tax and roadworthy certificate which allows us to operate within the metropolis and so AMA cannot prevent us now from working,’ the angry taxi driver reiterated.
By Linda Tenyah
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