The Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD), an agency under the Ghana Police Service (GPS), has grabbed hold of a private driver who reportedly ran into a teacher on the Bolgatanga-Navrongo Highway and disappeared from the scene to hide the accident car.
The incident comes as some families are still in tears over some 51 lives lost in the Upper East Region as a result of road traffic crashes recorded between January and June, 2021, according to the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA).
John Bawa, an employee of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development (DSWCD) in the region, is said to have appeared from a junction on a brand-new car around the Bolgatanga High Court and crashed into the teacher, David Agumbire, riding north on the highway on Friday August 20, 2021.
Witnesses say Bawa, immediately after the crash, took off with the blue private car to his office several metres away, abandoning the victim to the mercies of the other road users at the scene. Agumbire was rushed to the Upper East Regional Hospital by concerned individuals not involved in the crash, according to a bystander.
Answering questions from newsmen, Bawa, now being referred to as a “hit-and-hide driver” by eyewitnesses who are very upset because he did not bother to take the victim to hospital at once but rather drove the car to his workplace and parked it there, confirmed he took the vehicle to his office right from the crash scene but said he did not hide it. He also claimed he returned to the scene and chartered a motorised tricycle (known colloquially as “Mahama Can Do”) to convey the victim to hospital.
Authorities at the regional MTTD office in Bolgatanga told Starr News Bawa’s action― moving the vehicle to his workplace right from the scene― was at odds with the law. The authorities said he did not report himself (as he should have) until somebody reported the incident to the MTTD which subsequently summoned him by phone. They said he also did not take the car to the police first (as expected by law) until Monday August 30, 2021― ten clear days after the crash.
Some of the eyewitnesses say they want “the bragging Bawa” brought to book and justice done without any fear or favour. But the MTTD authorities say the case is still under an investigation that might need the cooperation of the recuperating teacher to succeed.
Twelve Pedestrians Killed
Some of the traffic lights commissioned by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo only months ago in the regional capital, Bolgatanga, are standing in complete ruins today. The surviving ones are not reliable, either: they function irregularly― like a market day that comes only twice a week.
Besides, some motorists waywardly do not obey when stopped temporarily by the red light for other road users to cross. Unbridled disregard for traffic rules and regulations, which is equal to outright indifference to the safety of other road users who are needed alive by those who depend on them and those they also look up to, largely accounts for the accident headlines people see on their mobile phone screens almost daily in the region.
The NRSA’s Upper East Regional Director, Abdulai Bawa Ghamsah, told Starr News the region recorded 116 road crashes involving 156 vehicles between January and June, 2021. Within the same period, 12 pedestrians were killed and 119 people got injured.
“It all boils down to proper enforcement of the law. We should equip our police very well to be mobile like we see in some other countries where if you misbehave, make wrong overtaking or jump the red light, a police officer is there with you in no time to arrest. If you query the statistics, the National Road Safety Authority data on the Upper East Region, you would realise that the vehicle that is doing the havoc, that is killing more people than any other is motorbike. In almost all the districts, motorbikes are killing more than any other vehicle. Most of these accidents are not even reported to the police.
“If you want to get the real statistics, go beyond what the police have provided. Go to the hospital. Go to the countryside emergency centres― the traditional bonesetters in the villages. Go to the CHPS (Community-based Health Planning and Services) compounds in the villages. If you compare the figures you get to what you get from the MTTD, you would be shocked. In Ghana today, we estimate that every year we are losing over 2,000 people through road accidents. That is what is coming from the MTTD; that is what was reported to them. The reality is double that figure. This is the real situation,” the Regional Director said.
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region – Daily Mail GH