By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer
Ministry of Transport, Works
In a bid to make our roads safer for everyone amid seemingly endless traffic accidents, some of which turned out to be fatal, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure (MoTWI), The National Youth Parliament (NYP) and he Student Association of Public Health and Environmental Health (SAPEH), of the University of The Gambia, recently organised a day-long forum at Metzy’s Hotel in Kololi on road safety under the theme: Making a Clarion Call for Action to Remedy The National Road Safety Crises.
The forum which brought together different stakeholders in the day-to-day transporting system of the country such as the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, the National Roads Authority, the police, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the General Transport Union and other NGOs that are into road safety, was meant to brainstormed over ways and means of tackling the increasingly high number of road traffic accidents on our roads, from Banjul to Koina.
Mod Ceesay, permanent secretary, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, said in 2021 alone, The Gambia Police Force, recorded 620 minor or non-injuries, 349 serious injuries, 138 fatal roads traffic accidents with significant damaged to vehicles and properties.
According to him, The Gambia like many other countries is faced with challenges of road safety as the population is significantly growing in numbers, the raised in motor vehicles and the degenerating conditions of our roads, resulting to increased road traffic accidents, particularly in the urban metropolis and beyond.
“While this is not negative in its very nature, the road traffic system plus road user attitude in our network remains a challenge and as such people are killed or seriously injured on the road,” he said.
He further stated that road traffic injury is an issue which inappropriately affects the poorer people and the most vulnerable members of the society. This, he added is a significant cause of death and disability and generate economical lost over two billion dollars globally each year and over 1.3 million causalities each year.
Ousman Sillah, National Assembly member for Banjul North, said road usage is everyone business and therefore, described the event as very important and he urged the young people of this country to take up the challenges and contribute their quota to the socio-economic developments of this country.
“At the level of the National Assembly, we are opened for any discussions on traffic matters so as to better our roads and protect the lives of every Gambian,” he said.
Omar Cham, Speaker of the NYP, said motor traffic accidents does not only involve those on vehicles but pedestrians as well. Mr Cham therefore called on everyone to put up ways and means to drastically reduce accidents on our roads, some of which are fatal in most of the times, he said.
“Just few weeks ago, I read a report of the World Health Organisation, which ranked The Gambia fifth in Africa when it comes to worst road traffic accidents. This is not a one man show or an institution. It requires every Gambian involvement to make our roads safe and better. Collectively we can reverse this worrying trend,” he said.
Other speakers at the forum were Tijan Kuyateh, Clerk of NYP and Modou Lamin Jammeh, president of SAPEH.