N/R: Cargo Transport drivers fume over Police harassment, extortion

The National Cargo Transport Drivers’ Union has expressed their frustration over how roadblocks mounted by the police in the Northern part of the country are making their work difficult.

They decried facing continuous harassment and intimidation from the security officials.

According to the union, the outrageous demands by police personnel from cargo drivers at these checkpoints are adversely affecting the cargo business in Ghana.

At a press briefing in Tamale to register their displeasure over the matter, the Cargo Transport Drivers Union lamented how in some instances their drivers are unduly handcuffed for just minor or no offense by the police.

N/R: Cargo Transport drivers fume over Police harassment, extortion 1

The conference addressed by PRO of the union, Mohammed Hafiz indicated that cargo truck drivers have always ensured they had up-to-date documents.

He also recounted instances where police had to coerce drivers into paying money for no wrong done. The situation he added is rampant on the Kumasi–Tamale, and Tamale–Bawku highway.

“The roadworthy certificates of our drivers are always up to date, their insurance policies are current and promptly renewed when expired or about to expire. They pay the appropriate tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority when due. And we pay the statutory sticker charges to the assemblies. With all these contributions we are making to enhance the revenue generation of the state of Ghana, we are still being harassed by police day in and out at the numerous roadblocks during day and night”.

Members of the union also threatened to embark on a demonstration if the situation is not addressed and called on the IGP to intervene by calling his men to order or remove the roadblocks.

They said the absence of roadblocks during the peak of the COVID 19 pandemic made their work smooth but has returned to bad as the roadblocks are now back.

They also accuse the police of breaching “Police Escort” procedures.

According to them, police take money from drivers who claim they are in a hurry and allow them passage at police escort barriers, something they say is dangerous to passengers.

Some drivers who pay money to the police they said are given special escort while those who are unable to pay money are left to their fate.

N/R: Cargo Transport drivers fume over Police harassment, extortion 2

“In its wisdom and in line with the mandatory duty to protect the lives and properties of its citizens on transit from one part of the country to the other, the police introduced the concept of ‘escort’ to safely lead and guard passengers through a robbery prone route. There is the ongoing blatant flouting of the modus operandi of the operation.

“Police in connivance with some irresponsible drivers are allowed passages through these routes without escort, thus putting the lives of passengers at risk. It is an open secret that drivers in the name of being in a hurry pay money to the police and give passages to those who give them money. A very dangerous and worrying practice”.

NCTDU also blames the cause of driver fatigue-related accidents on the MTTD. According to them, drivers who drive long distances for fear of intimidation by police are not able to stop and rest because “they are always in a hurry to cross the checkpoint before the police come out”.

They have therefore appealed to the Inspector General of Police to treat their concerns with all seriousness it deserves and provide solutions to them.

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