Accra Lockdown: Police return wanderers, recalcitrant trotro drivers lose passengers

BY: Isaac Yeboah

Day one of the partial lockdown imposed on Greater Accra and Kumasi and its environs to curtail the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) has generally passed without major incidents in Accra.

Security personnel at various checkpoints say so far so good and that apart from people who appeared unsure where they were headed, as well as others who even though had no particular business in town but still felt like stepping out, and had to be returned, all is well.

“A lot of those we returned simply did not know why they were out of their homes and where they were going and of course, we had to refuse them. The problem is that there are so many escape routes around here that when they leave here, you are not sure what else they do and since there are no checkpoints in the communities, we can only guess where else they go.”

The above were the words of a police sergeant at the Tulaku police checkpoint, Ashaiman who asked not to be identified. She said her team had enjoyed tremendous cooperation from the public and was counting on coming days getting even better.

Her other challenge was the attitude of some trotro drivers who wanted to do ‘business as usual’ by loading their vehicles as they do normally. “We ask them to drop half of the passengers and to pay for their journey so they can continue. The passengers are mainly food vendors and market women.”

Another sergeant heading the exercise at the Accra end of the Tema Motorway said all was well, and recounted the same excuses passengers were offering – going to the market, going to the mall, or to the bank etc.

“When we ask for bank cheque books or ATM cards or anything to confirm the intent to visit the bank, some of them are unable to prove it so we send them back. As for recalcitrant trotro drivers they mostly lose their passengers. We drop them when they are too many”, he said.

At the Kasoa toll gate, the police would actually follow up excuses to confirm that nobody is stepping out needlessly. If an okada rider claims to have been sent on an errand, the police actually call up the sender for confirmation.

But the roads were largely empty, and while foodstuff joints were a bit busy, they were a far cry from their usually bustling modes.