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PMUC Signs Convention With Littoral Gendarmerie To Financially Assist Training Of ‘Bendskin’ Riders 

By Joe Dinga Pefok
The citizen friendly enterprise, Pari Mutuel Urbain Camerounais, PMUC, on March 6, signed a convention with the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion to financially assist in the training of riders of commercial motorcycles in Douala, commonly known as ‘bendskins’.

The venue of the signing ceremony was the conference hall of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion located at Bonanjo, Douala. On hand to sign the convention on behalf of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion was the Legion Commander, Colonel Francois Ahanda Abina, while the Deputy General Manager of PMUC, Tatyana M. Eldin, signed on behalf of her enterprise.

Speaking before the signing ceremony, the Commander of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion, Colonel Abina, stated that the signing of the convention between the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion and PMUC, for the former to financially assist in the training of commercial motorcycle riders, is a continuous action that has been going on for some time now. He remarked that the partnership between the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion and PMUC, was initiated before he came to Douala as Legion Commander.

What The Convention Is All About
The Littoral Gendarmerie Legion Commander started by asserting that commercial motorcycle riders are citizens like other Cameroonians, and that as citizens, they also have the responsibility to respect the law. But he pointed out that it was no secret to anybody in Douala that a bulk of the thousands of ‘bendskin’ riders operating in the town, had not been trained and thus did not have their Category ‘A’ Licence. That they had been operating in violation of the Law. He asserted that the National Gendarmerie, which has as one of its missions to fight against the violation of the law or against law breakers was very concerned with the situation.

The Legion Commander stated that the local administration, including the Gendarmerie as a State institution, was engaged in a search for a solution to assist these citizens who are commercial motorcycle riders, to operate in conformity with the law. For one thing, the commercial motorcycle riders were complaining of lack of finance to follow a training course which ends with those who succeed in the test, to obtain the Category ‘A’ Licence, and for which they have to pay for.
It was within this backdrop that the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion contacted PMUC and solicited their financial assistance to help pay for the Licences of those bendskin riders who take part in the training programme, and succeed in the driving test. The special training programme, which is carried out in collaboration with the Gendarmerie, is for free to groups of bendskin riders.

The last group of commercial motorcycle riders in Douala to be trained by the special programme, completed their course last month, and 200 succeeded in the driving test. The convention that was signed on March 6 between the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion and PMUC, was for the latter to provide money to pay for the Category ‘A’ licences for the 200 commercial motorcycle riders.

Riders Predominantly Youths
Also speaking at the convention signing ceremony, the Deputy General Manager of PMUC, Tatyana Eldin, said when the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion contacted them to financially assist in the training programme for commercial motorcycle riders in Douala, they, as a citizen friendly enterprise, responded positively. This, considering the important role that the commercial motorcycle sector has come to play in society.


The Deputy GM emphasised the fact that PMUC has been more concerned with the situation of the commercial motorcycle sector, considering that the riders are predominantly youths, as well as the fact that the rate of accidents, including ghastly accidents, involving commercial motorcycle riders, had become so alarming. As a citizen friendly enterprise, PMUC could not be indifferent to such a disturbing situation. She said PMUC is happy to be involved in the training programme being organised for commercial motorcycle riders in the nation’s economic capital.

Selection For Training Programme
Talking to reporters about the special training programme being organised for commercial motorcycle riders in Douala, Wille Kegne, the head of the Wouri Divisional Coordination of syndicates of commercial motorcycle riders that was set up by the former Wouri SDO, Naseri Paul Bea, explained that the only condition is that a rider should be registered with a sub-divisional syndicate where he is resident or where he operates.
Kegne said when any of the special training programme is planned, the Wouri Divisional Coordination of sub-divisional syndicates of commercial motorcycle riders, fixes a quota for each of the five municipalities in Douala. This is as regard the number of commercial motorcycle riders, that each of the five different municipalities will through the sub-divisional syndicates, send in for the free training course. This is to ensure that a fair chance is provided to riders in all the five municipalities to take part in the free-of- charge training.

Rates Of Bendskin Accidents on The Decline
The Commander of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion, Colonel Abina, disclosed that the Gendarmerie have been observing some decline in the number of accidents involving commercial motorcycle riders in Douala, since the special training programme started. However, considering that there are estimated to be tens of thousands of commercial motorcycle riders in Douala, the Legion Commander stated that there are still thousands of riders operating in the nation’s economic capital who have not been trained. He asserted that the untrained commercial motorcycle riders do not know the Highway Code; reasons for their frequent involvement in accidents.

The Colonel was very optimistic that, with the special training programme; a programme to which PMUC is providing an important financial assistance, the declining rate of accidents will continue as more and more riders are trained. It would be noted that following the very high rate of accidents involving bendskin riders in Douala in the past, with many of the victims taken to Laquintinie Hospital, a ward at the hospital was nicknamed, Bendskin Ward

Apparently as way to show the importance of the partnership and convention being signed with PMUC, the Commander of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion was accompanied to the March 6 ceremony by all his close collaborators in Douala. They included the commanders of the three Gendarmerie ‘Campagnies’ in Douala, the Commander of the Mboppi Gendarmerie Camp, the head of the Littoral Gendarmerie Research Service, the Commander of the ‘Anti-Gang’, as well as the Commanders of the Gendarmerie at the Douala Port and the Airport, among others.

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