Seven months after the restriction of motorbikes in some major streets of Bamenda, life is taking a new normal for both bikers and denizens of the City.
Many have described the move as a devilish action that has brought untold pain, poverty, and suffering and as well has made many people sleep now with little fear of being kidnapped.
Homes have been separated as many bike riders have been forced out of the region to look for other jobs in other regions
The ban that was placed on September 4, 2020, by the Bamenda City Mayor, Achobong Paul Tembeng limiting motorbikes from circulating on the urban perimeter was a security measure taken following attacks on and the killing of security forces by suspected separatist fighters using motorbikes for their operations.
Peace for inhabitants, pain for bike riders
While it has been a long bitter pill for commercial bikers to swallow, it has for months brought some quietness to some city dwellers.
According to Fred Ntum, copping without bikes has not been easy.” I live along the new road. Each morning, I take a bike to the new road junction before boarding a taxi. At times just to reach Mobile Nkwen where I can get a taxi to reach Upstation can take up to 45 minutes because of traffic. At times, I reach the office one hour late. At first, I could take a bike from my house, straight to the office. I really need the bikes to hit the streets again in this town,” he said.
According to Vigiline Sang, the ban has made her live in Bamenda without her husband.”My husband returned home one day on foot without his bike. He told me it was confiscated by the military. After sitting at home for one month, he had to move to Yaounde to search for something doing to feed me and my three children back here in Bamenda. I miss my husband,” she intimated.
The security perimeter which restricts bikes from circulating touches on major parts of the town where bikers hitherto made huge financial gains. This area includes busy streets like Mobil Nkwen to Foncha Junction, Sonac Street through City Chemist to Commercial Avenue and the Food Market areas.
To Alvinus Mbinwe, it’s now a matter of working all day with little to take home.
“I spend most of the time sitting on my bike waiting for passengers. At first, I could not sit in one position all day. I will move up and down the city making several trips. This gave me a daily turnover of ten thousand. Now I can barely make four thousand a day. Let the government do something,” he said.
Now, these bike ridders are toiling all day with nothing to take home each day.
Some have abandoned bike riding to other menial jobs as ends were no longer meeting while some others lost their bikes to security forces for violating the urban perimeter.
Though security measures get relaxed after 5pm daily when security forces who keep watch retire, there remain some no-go zones for bikes round the clock in Bamenda.