Danger on the streets: Stray animals causing accidents in Tamale
Mr Sumani Yakubu, a resident of Tamale, is a living testimony after surviving narrowly, a near-fatal accident in 2020.
Having closed from work, his last thought was that he would end up in a hospital for weeks and with a broken leg.
Narrating his harrowing experience to the Daily Graphic, Mr Yakubu said while on his way home on a motorbike, he was crossed by a stray sheep, resulting in the accident.
“I was riding at top speed and the animals from nowhere crossed me so I lost control and crashed into the gutter. I only woke up and found myself on a hospital bed at the Tamale Teaching Hospital,” he said.
Though he has since recovered from the fracture he sustained from the accident, Mr Yakubu continues to have a flashback of the harrowing experience anytime he is on the road.
He is not the only victim of such accidents in the Tamale Metropolis.
Suhuyini Rafia is still nursing the wounds sustained when she run into a herd of cattle on the principal streets of the metropolis.
“It was a very horrifying experience, I was returning from market that fateful day and upon reaching a section of the Gurugu stretch, cattle from nowhere just crossed the road and I ran into them and fell, I sustained some injuries but I am fast recovering now,” she narrated.
Stray animals such as cattle, sheep and goats in recent times have taken over the principal streets of the Tamale Metropolis, defecating anywhere and causing needless accidents.
Aside the potential threat to human lives, these animals sometimes take over some major streets and trunk roads, making vehicular and pedestrian movements impossible.
The situation has caused a number of accidents on the streets, resulting in the loss of lives and injuries to many over the years.
Efforts to make the city clean are being thwarted by the invasion of some principal streets and areas by the animals.
Checks by the Daily Graphic showed that the animals mostly invade the central business district in search of fodder.
However, the most worrying aspect is that there are often no herdsmen and the animals stray and destroy some traders’ wares.
In 2018, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA) passed a bye-law on the movement of animals in the city.
Section 181 of the law states that “any person authorised by the assembly who finds any cattle at large in a public place of the metropolis without any public person in charge thereof may seize and impound such cattle in the place set aside by the Assembly for that purpose”.
However, since the passage of the bye-law, the assembly has not been able to strictly implement it to sanitise the city.
The Public Relations Officer of the TaMA, Amadu Mustapha Zakari, in an interview with the Daily Graphic expressed worry about the development and said the assembly was engaging the various stakeholders to ensure the strict enforcement of the bye-law.
“Aside the accidents they are causing on the roads, the animals are littering the environment, which is not good for our health and the environment,” he said.
He said once the assembly was done engaging the various stakeholders, it would impound any stray animal found roaming the streets of the metropolis and impose heavy fines on their owners to bring sanity on the roads.
Mr Zakari, however, appealed to the public to keep their animals in their pens and at their ranches to prevent them from roaming the streets to ensure sanity.
For his part, the Northern Regional Director of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Mohammed Abdul-Samad, said his outfit had observed that stray animals were responsible for some of the accidents in the metropolis and also caused nuisance by littering the streets.
For this reason, he said the authority was embarking on a sensitisation campaign to rid the streets of stray animals.
He called on the assembly and the police to strictly enforce the city’s bye-laws to ensure sanity.
The situation seems to have assumed alarming proportions because in almost all parts of the city, these animals, especially cattle are found loitering.
The stories of Mr Yakubu and Ms Rafia are part of the many accidents that have occurred in the city over the years as a result of the indiscriminate loitering of animals.
Though city authorities appear to be silent, the situation is biting hard and needs urgent attention.