President urges West African leaders to curb ‘okada’ menace

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged West African leaders to implement measures to completely curb the ‘okada’ menace in the sub-region.

This, according to him, would go a long way in protecting lives and property.

 “We cannot make progress in the fight against road traffic crashes if we do not address cases of motor cycle and tricycle related casualties which remains a major concern to me,” he said.

The President made the call yesterday in a speech read on his behalf at the closing of the 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the West Africa Road Safety Organisation (WARSO) held in Accra.

The four-day event was held on the theme “Evaluating Road Safety Performance in West Africa under the Decade of Action for Road Safety-2011-2020.”

According to him, Ghana had approved a proposal to transform the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) into an authority with an enhanced mandate to ensure compliance to road safety measures, procedures and guidelines.

The transformed agency, he said, had the mandate to impose sanctions in the form of administrative penalties for non compliance, adding that these reforms had been carried out by government to inject new energy in the fight against road traffic crashes.

President Akufo-Addo indicated that road safety had become a public health issue attracting a lot of attention from policy makers at all levels of governance because it had consequences for the health system and the economy.

He, therefore, called for an increase in political will, for road safety translates into more advocacy for good behaviour and improvement in resource allocation for road safety actions.

“This way, our countries can adopt common approaches that address our common concerns of vehicle safety, road infrastructure and awareness levels of all road users,” he added.

Ghana, he said, continued to demonstrate leadership in road safety management, mentioning that the country’s recent ratings by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) had provided the catalyst for Africa to do more, including legislative reforms and budgetary support to key agencies.

“Road safety is a shared and collective responsibility and we must all marshal our efforts towards reducing road carnage,” the President advised.

In her remarks, Director General of the NRSA, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, said the causes of road crashes in African countries and their associated consequences had a significant impact in societies which continue to hamper the socio-economic development and well-being of the continent.

She further called for more collaboration between member countries to promote road safety.

 Reverend Ismaila H. Awudu, on his part, said governments in the sub-region needed to strengthen the various institutions mandated with promoting road safety to be effective as well as support them with both logistical and financial aid to help them carry out their mandate effectively.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU                       

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