Monday, May 14, 2007

As the Week Opens in Accra: Why ECOWAS Citizens Lost Their Lives in Ghana (1)


My absence from here was due in part to a funeral I had to attend in my maternal grandmother's home town. Now, this town is some 1.5 hours away from the capital by road, and forms part of what has now become known as the Trans West African Highway Network, supposed to connect some of the West African countries together

[- Damane (Liberia border) 26 km in Côte d’Ivoire ;

- Bloloquin-Toulepleu-(Liberia border) 64 km - Côte d’Ivoire

- Ganta-Tappita-Douanes Tobli-Blay (Côte d’Ivoire border): 15 km in Liberia ;

- Bandajuma-Zimmi-Mru Bridge (Liberia border) : 97 km, in Sierra Leone ;

- Freetown-Pamelap (Guinea border : 126 km, in Sierra Leone;

- Boke (Guinea) - Quebo (Guinea Bissau) : 206 km

- Akatsi/Dzodze (Togo border): 31 km in Ghana ;

- Noepe-Hilla Condji (Benin border) : 80 km, in Togo. ]

In effect, the so-called Trans-West African Highway Network has been comprehensively completed since last week, prompting joys that the ECOWAS link-up is becoming more of a reality.

Sadly, it's coming at a cost, as exemplified by last Thursday's eerie accident that involved two articulators travelling at top speed in opposite directions; the helping of Ghanaian motorists of passengers of an overturned bus (comprising West Africans from Cote d' Ivoire, Liberia, Benin, Nigeria and Togo) resulting in their deaths as the second articulator hit them at top speed (after having lost control). Altogether, seven vehicles were involved in the very sad loss of lives that claimed 40 people.

The road on which this happened goes to one of Ghana's premier tourist regions--the Central Region, where there is much more greenery than in the capital of Accra.

The roads are so good and so speed-inducing it's not funny. Regrettably, badly-educated and opportunistic (not to mention tired) articulator truck drivers take advantage of these good roads and act as death merchants.

To remind Ghanaian motorists of the importance of preserving lives, my favourite network, Ghana's mobile network--Onetouch--has erected billboards throughout the highway that spans several kilometres, reminding drivers not just they can connect to ONETOUCH in the area they have passed, but that "life is precious, drive with care".

A publicity stunt, notwithstanding, it's important to read that as you cruise from one region to the next.

(May those West Africans who lost their lives, as well as those Ghanaians who stopped to help them, ending up killed, rest in perfect peace)
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