State House, Freetown, Friday 2 July 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has engaged the national, regional and district executives of the Commercial Bike Riders Association and urged them to use their membership to sensitise the nation about the deadly Delta variant of the Coronavirus.
The engagement which brought together senior members of government, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, took place at the Credential Room, State House.
Stating the purpose of the engagement, Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, said that commercial bike riding had created a lot of jobs for a large proportion of the youthful population, adding that that had actually taken a huge burden off the government which was working to create jobs for the youthful population.
“So, the purpose of this engagement is to have a face-to-face meeting with His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, who has always been a close friend to all bike riders,” he noted.
President of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bike Riders Association, Umaru Talie Bah, said that he was happy that President Bio and his government could recognise the work they were doing, adding that they had long waited for such an opportunity.
“Your Excellency Sir, we are grateful for this opportunity and the recognition. We also want to thank the Ministry of Youth Affairs. We are now being consulted in every decision-making regarding our welfare,” Mr. Bah said.
He confirmed that the association had 1,666,000 active members and 1,256,000 nonactive members, saying that the non-active members were those without bikes but could assist those active members in their everyday activities.
“Your Excellency and senior members of government, it is worth noting that every year our association contributes an estimated Le 7.5 billion to the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, SLRSA, to register, license of bikes and pay fines,” he noted.
Umaru concluded by saying that they were partners in development and ready to transform their dreams by helping the government succeed in efforts to empower the youth. He, therefore, urged the Sierra Leone Police Force to be reasonable in their conduct of arresting and detaining defaulters.
In his response, President Julius Maada Bio thanked the leadership of the bike riders for their huge contribution to nation-building, saying that they were important because they had filled up a huge gap in the transport sector and touched a huge number of lives on a daily basis.
“The importance of this engagement is for us as a government to look for ways you can be incorporated into the governance system of the state. We recognise the role you play in the economy. It is our business to promote and facilitate your safety and reduce the vulnerability of your work while riding your bikes,” he noted.
President Bio urged the bike riders to be responsible and abide by the rules and regulations binding their trade in the country, adding that they must do everything to protect the passengers and their bikes as the source of their livelihood.
He maintained that his government would take concrete actions to make sure that the bike riders were informed and are were able to participate in major decisions about their association.
For More Enquiries: State House Media and Communications Unit