My trip to Kakata, Margibi County early this morning on one of my many reportorial duties in order to see the plight of poverty stricken Liberians in that part of the Country witnessed an usual scene between commercial drivers and the highway patrol team of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in their regular “Undercover Handshakes”.
The vehicle which I was riding was over loaded with six passengers on board instead of five as mandated by the Ministry of Transport regulation in collaboration with the Liberia National Police, the institution responsible to enforce all traffic regulations for all vehicles plying the streets both in the city and outside the city, but this seems not to be adhered to by drivers as Police continue to compromise their authority.
My inquiry to the driver as to why he was taken two in the front seat of the vehicle received rather an emotional answer, noting that two persons are usually carried in the front seats of their vehicles in order for them to cover up the bribes being given to the police while on their way to their destinations.
This was of course visible when we drove five minutes later at one of the checkpoints where over five police officers were standing by to quiz their partner-in-crime (Traffic Violators) of course their discussion; the driver and the police settled for CASH of L$100 down with no compromise.
It was irritating to see a police publicly in the presence of other bystanders including the occupants of the vehicle requesting a driver who did violate the traffic regulation by carrying two passengers in the front seat of his vehicle to be compensated at the detriment of their lives.
After presenting the cash to police we were allowed to drive off without telling the driver that taking two persons in the front seat of his vehicle was a violation of the traffic law of Liberia.
“When I asked the driver why he had to give the officer L$100, he replied, “You see my brother this is our regular routine between the police and us. I spent L$600 daily to police on my way from Redlight, to Kakata. Taken two persons in the front of our vehicles will help us cover up our daily reports to car owners,” he boastfully told me.
The questions that flipped my lips is why is it authority at the Liberia National Police is putting to an end of this ugly situation? If a driver from Monrovia to Kakata spends L$600 daily than I pondered over as to how much a driver who plies the route from Monrovia to Maryland or Sinoe Counties will give to police?
Authority at the LNP should see reason in bringing to an end this situation; it helps to tarnish the good reputation of our National Police.
Article: Joel Cholo Brooks