Members of the ruling All People’s Congress and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) over the weekend stormed Kailahun District to sensitize the people on Road Safety. Led by the Parliamentary Chairman of the Transport and Aviation Committee, Hon. Tunde Lewalley and Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) staff, the team recently met the people of Segbwema in the Njaluahun Chiefdoms and Duru Jawei Chiefdom respectively.
The road Safety Campaign is geared towards information gathering from all road users especially pedestrians, riders, drivers, passengers, cyclists, traders amongst others in order to come up with a strategy or policy that will reduce road crashes in Sierra Leone. The Road Safety Campaign focuses on face-to-face education, public discussion, radio discussion, community meetings, March pasts, interviews and consultations. Every community, chiefdom, district and region is expected to receive the Nationwide Road Safety Campaign tips to help them use the road more cautiously at all times.
|Former SLPP Councilor, Matorma Baindu Kallon and APC’s MP Tunde Lewally displaying camaraderie in a March past at Daru Town
At the Segbwema Park, Reverend Lissa Korvoma of the Holy Ghost Secondary School said the Road Safety Campaign was essential to everybody including pupils, teachers as well as parents. He commended Members of Parliament for taking the sensitization to their door steps. He informed that taking the campaign to that part of the country shows the excess love MPs have for them. The man of God faithfully promised the campaigners that he will take the message to various schools in that community.
The Chairman Bike Riders Daniel Saffa welcomed the campaign as an idea that will reduce road accidents. He said sometimes they may want to stop overloading, enforce the use of crash helmets but because of the numerous checkpoints they may not afford to do so as police extort money from them. He appealed to SLRTA to provide them with reflectors in order to be able to identify other road users at night.
The Traffic Police officer asked drivers and bike riders to avoid overloading and overtaking at all times and to always use their crash helmets. “Drivers should use seatbelts, bike riders must use their crash helmets” he maintained. He said police mount up checkpoint not for booking or extortion but whenever drivers or bike riders are in contravention with the law they attempt to bribe the police at checkpoints.
The Member of Parliament representing Constituency 07 comprising Segbwema and the entire Njaluahun Chiefdom in Kailahun District, Hon. Abu Jajua said the lives of his people were very paramount to him than anything else. He disclosed that all his people were road users and therefore deserved to be well informed about the dangers of road crashes. He said Road Safety was becoming a tropical issue among all communities in the world. He therefore used this opportunity to consider all safety precautions when participating in road activities. The Commercial Bike Riders representative advised the police to reduce the number of checkpoints.
At a meeting held at the Chiefdom Court Barray at Daru Jawei Chiefdom Kailahun District, Chief Joe Lahai said the traders were the most vulnerable people in road crashes. According to him, the most available and affordable means of transportation was the commercial motorbikes. He disclosed that the campaign was conducted at the right time.
The Youth Leader, Mustapha Galewa who doubles as Chairman for Bike Riders Union blamed the police for extortion. He said the frequency at which the police were demanding money from riders was leading to overloading, accident and violation of other regulations.
Fullah Tribal Head, Lama Jalloh who doubles as traders’ representative suggested to the authority to impound any vehicle that load grosses and passengers at the same time. He advised the MPs to draw a policy that will not only affect the arrest of the drivers but also the passengers as well as the vehicles. He also told the police similarly to arrest and detain riders and their passengers on the same spot if they fail to use crash helmets, overloading and riding without license or other documents. Earlier in his welcome address, Hon. Moiwai Momoh of constituency 06 representing SLPP in Kailahun advised all his constituents to listen to the safety messages and disseminate it in their various communities.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.