Adentan, Madina residents embark on peaceful walk for footbridges

BY: Caroline Boateng
Mr Rashid Osei-Bonsu (2nd left) trying to calm the crowd
Mr Rashid Osei-Bonsu (2nd left) trying to calm the crowd

Residents of Adentan, Madina and their environs along the N4 highway in Accra Monday embarked on a peaceful walk to press home their demand for the government to fix footbridges on the busy road to save lives.

The action formed part of measures by the residents to compel the government to fix the six bridges located at different points on the highway.

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The campaigners, who were clad in red apparel, carried placards, some of which read: ‘Fix our roads now!!!’, ‘We are dying’, ‘Start work now, no delays’ and ‘We want all our streetlights fixed.’

The walk began at the West Africa Secondary School (WASS) compound, with the leaders holding hands and walking calmly, amidst singing and chanting of inspirational songs, and finally ended at the SDA Junction at Adenta.

Pleas


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In the course of the walk, the Assemblyman for the area, Mr Rashid Osei-Bonsu, had to impress on the people not to proceed to some accident spots that claimed the lives of pedestrians.

Even though they initially disagreed and shouted: “Yee ko Madina! Yee ko Madina! Yee ko Madina!” (to wit: ‘We are going to Madina’), they eventually gave that up.

They were later addressed by some of their leaders, including Dr Samuel Kojo Kwofie and Nana Ampomah, who appealed to them to be patient, as the government had now given a time frame to fix the bridges.

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Also present and actively involved in the walk was the 2016 independent presidential candidate, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, who is a resident of Adentan.

“I live here; I am affected by activities on the highway and that is why I am here,” he said.

Security

There was heavy police presence, including riot vehicles, to ensure peace and order during the exercise. The more than 30 armed policemen arrived in 10 vehicles in their riot gear.

They were led by the Madina Divisional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Afriyie Sakyi.

Ultimatum

The campaigners, who shouted in a chorus at the end of the walk, gave the government a 10-day ultimatum to ensure contractors were on site to complete work on the footbridges.

They also called for road markings and the provision of streetlights to cover the entire stretch of the highway.

The residents threatened to embark on a massive demonstration if work on the bridges was not carried out within the period.

Background

Since completion of work on the highway more than a decade ago, it has claimed the lives of many pedestrians in their attempt to cross the busy road.

This is because of the lack of footbridges on the highway. In all, there are six uncompleted footbridges on the N4 highway.

The residents claimed that several appeals and protests for the footbridges to be fixed had not yielded the needed response from the government.

The latest incident on the highway involved the knocking down to death of a student of WASS, Ms Mariam Kassim, last Thursday.

That led to a spontaneous protest by the residents who burnt car tyres and blocked portions of the road to traffic.

The police had to resort to the throwing of tear gas to disperse the angry crowd. Some road users also alleged they sustained bullet wounds.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Roads and Highways announced that work on the bridges would commence within a week.

The ministry, in collaboration with the Interior Ministry, has meanwhile requested the Ghana Police Service to deploy officers of the Motor Transport and Traffic Department
(MTTD) to prevent further accidents.

This was contained in a statement from an inter-Ministerial Committee on road safety last Thursday night.