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SDO Bans Transportation Of Pupils, Students By ‘Cargo Buses’ 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Wouri SDO, Paul Naseri Bea, has issued an order prohibiting the transportation of pupils and students in Douala by ‘cargo-buses’.

The vehicles, commonly called ‘cargo’, manufactured for the transportation of goods and not people, have, over the years, been used in the nation’s economic capital to transport persons, due to their low transport fares.

The Wouri administrator has stated that control teams will, henceforth, carry out unannounced visits to the field to ensure that the school officials across Douala respect the administrative order.

After several years of hesitation, the Wouri SDO, with the backing of the Littoral Governor, Joseph Beti Assomo, last October, issued an order banning all the cargo–buses from circulating in town. The vehicles, they SDO said, are generally in a poor state and are notorious for overloading and for circulating in the town without the required documents. The structures of the cargo–buses are not suitable for the transportation of people.

Governor Beti Assomo disclosed, at the end of a meeting with the transporters’ syndicates in Douala, that cargo-buses enter Cameroon through the Douala Port, considered as containers of goods and not as vehicles.

He said the importers always promise that after removing their goods, the ‘containers’ will be sold to dealers in second-hand spare parts of vehicles, to dismantle and sell them. But after the ‘containers’ leave the Douala Port, the Governor went on, the owners instead start using them for public transport.

Naseri Bea remarked that the administration got reports that, after the cargo-buses were banned from transporting passengers in Douala, some proprietors of the vehicles convinced some school proprietors to buy the buses for the transportation of their pupils or students.

The Wouri SDO also said, in some schools, the proprietors and principals struck deals with some owners of the buses to be using them to transport their pupils or students. In such deals, the SDO said, principals asked parents to pay a lump sum each month as transport fees, which they share with the owners of the buses.

The SDO lashed out at those unscrupulous school principals who put money above the security of children. He said a normal human being will understand that vehicles that were banned because they were considered unsafe to transport passengers, most of whom are adults, will even be more risky to transport children.

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