By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer
Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure
So many innocent lives were gone and some got serious injuries during these past few months on our Gambian roads, especially the South Bank end.
In a bid to end this calamity, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, together with relevant stakeholders such as the Gambia Police Force, Mobile Traffic Unit, National Roads Authority, Physical Planning, Gambia Red Cross Society, Kanifing Municipal Council, Consumer Protection Society and the General Transport Union, on Thursday, 5th May, 2022 visited accident hot spot areas along the busy South Bank Road, starting from Kombo East up to Foni.
Bakary Manneh, Senior Road Safety Officer, National Roads Authority- NRA, explained that one of the key reasons for the day long out and about was to identify critical accident prone areas, such as sharp bends on the road, thick bushy areas among other obstacles that can be found on the road, and finding immediate solutions to them.
He added that his institution with partners will work hand in hand to ensure that are roads are safer for everyone to use without the constant fear of who will be the next victim of road traffic accident.
“The NRA, together with the working group on road safety will supply the police with plastic speed rams to be placed at identify areas as a pilot project on our roads. Faraba will be among the piloted areas,” he said.
According to him, any recommendations made from the site visit will be forwarded to the relevant authorities for implementation to start as soon as possible.
Ansumana Kassama, Road Safety Officer, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, described the site visit as very crucial, considering the amount of accidents happening on our roads, most of which turns fatal.
He further stated that the Ministry, will collaborate with partners to ensure that all road users are safe on the roads at all times.
Buba S F Bah, Deputy Commissioner Mobile Traffic, said the Gambia Police Force Mobile Traffic Unit, will not relent on his efforts to curb road traffic accidents to zero.
“We will definitely do our best to protect the lives of every road user in this country. The Police are here for that. Ensuring that lives and properties are well protected to the core,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Bah further called on the drivers to always follow the traffic rules and maintain discipline at all times while driving. He said the police are not enemies to the drivers, but rather, they should see the police as partners in maintaining safety on the road.
Omar Ceesay, President of the General Transport Union, called on his colleague drivers to drive carefully while on the roads and exercise maximum patient at all the times.
“Driving is a difficult job. One needs to concentrate perfectly well. Together, we can make our roads, safer for all of us,” he said.
Alagie Junkung Camara of Somita, who is also the Chief of Foni Brefect, commended the team for the visit, while calling on the authorities, to help reduces the frequent road traffic accidents happening in his area and the country as a whole.
“We are really worried now a days, due to the frequent accidents happening here in Foni. Everybody is afraid. The lives of our children and our livestock are in constant danger,” he said.
Hot spots like Pirang, Faraba, Tanene, Sutu Sin Jang, Somita and a host of other areas were visited by the taskforce, and discussions were held with some members of these communities who all lamented that over speeding, lack of proper traffic signs and sharp bends on the road, are major causes of accidents.
Furthermore, they called on the authorities to bring back the normal traffic check points on the highways as it used to happen in the past and not what obtains now, referred to as ‘ slow down’.