The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure (MoTWI) and its partners have recently held a day-long forum on road safety in a bid to tackle the spate of road traffic accidents across the country.
Held at a local hotel in Kololi, the event was meant to brainstorm on ways and means to address the endless road traffic accidents, some of which were fatal.
A dispatch prepared by Lamin Njie, Assistant Information Officer from the aforesaid Ministry, stated that the forum brought together different stakeholders in the country’s transport system and they include the Transport Ministry, National Roads Authority, Police, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, General Transport Union and other NGOs, with the theme: “Making a Clarion Call for Action to Remedy the National Road Safety Crises”
Permanent Secretary at the Transport Ministry Mod K. Ceesay, said in 2021 alone, the Gambia Police Force (GPF) recorded 620 minor or non-injuries; 349 serious injuries and 138 fatal road traffic accidents, with significant damage to vehicles and properties.
PS Ceesay said the Gambia like many other countries, is faced with challenges of road safety as the population grows in numbers significantly. He said the rise in motor vehicle accidents and the degenerating conditions of the country’s roads, are also among the causes of increased road traffic accidents particularly in urban settlements.
“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 our roads,” he said.
PS Ceesay further stated that road traffic injury is an issue which inappropriately affects the poorer people and the most vulnerable members of society. This he said, is a significant cause of death and disability and generates immense economic loss of over two billion dollars globally each year, with over 1.3 million casualties.
Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member for Banjul North said road usage should be everyone’s business and therefore urge young people to take up the challenge and contribute their quota, to socio-economic development of the country.
“At the level of the National Assembly, we are open for any discussion on traffic matters so as to better our roads and protect the lives of every Gambian,” he said.
Sillah further called on all and sundry especially drivers, to join hands and make our roads safer, by cautioning them to always drive safely and be on the alert at all times.
Omar Cham, Speaker of the National Youth Parliament (NYP) said motor traffic accidents does not only involve those in vehicles but commuters. He called on everyone to put up ways and means to drastically reduce accidents on our roads, some of which have been fatal.
“Just few weeks ago, I read a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) ranking 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 Gambians’ involvement to make our roads safe and better and this way, we can collectively reverse this worrying trend,” he said.
Other speakers at the forum were Tijan Kuyateh, Clerk of the National Youth Parliament and Modou Lamin Jammeh, President of The Student Association of Public and Environmental Health (SAPEH).