Over the weekend, the Gambia Police Force in collaboration with the National Road Authority (NRA) and the Department of Physical Planning embarked on an exercise to clean the roads of all illegal structures and parking. This is geared towards freeing up the roads so that the traffic congestions can be minimized.
It has become a common problem, especially in the urban areas, to see makeshift canteens prop up on the roadsides. Those people who erect these do not necessarily seek or get permission or approval from anyone before putting them up. They just see that there is some space and they take it. That is illegal.
Also, many vehicle owners, maybe for want of parking spaces at home, park their vehicles on the roadside and this contributes immensely to the problem of traffic congestion in the urban areas. This is perhaps one of the reasons that a trip that should take ten minutes ends up taking an hour or more.
Apart from wasting a lot of time on the roads, it is perhaps one of the causes or, is a contributing factor to the increase in accidents on the roads. As a result of these accidents, many lives and limbs are lost in the country. This all goes to lack of planning and the lack of following rules and regulations.
The fact that the government has recognized this problem and has taken the right step to do something about it is commendable. It is necessary that the public cooperate fully with the police and other relevant agents to ensure that the operation is done successfully and without any hitches.
It has been reported that on the day that the operation commenced, there were some altercations between the police and some young people who perhaps thought that the police had no right to just demolish their structures. It is possible that this was due to a lack of proper communication and coordination.
Sensitizing the public is important so as to let them know that the ultimate aim is for the good of the people in general. Citizens should therefore collaborate with government agents as they exercise their duties. This is for the good of the country and the benefit will not only be for the police but for everyone living in the country.
It is however important that this exercise is sustained and seen through to its logical conclusion. Let it not just begin and stop without attaining its purpose.