05.02.2024 Feature Article

The Minors' Begging Trade On The Deteriorated Portions Of Our Highways In The Upper West Region

The Minors' Begging Trade On The Deteriorated Portions Of Our Highways In The Upper West Region
05.02.2024 LISTEN

There is no doubt that Upper West Region has the worst of roads and natives for sometime have been complaining endlessly. Most of our roads are pervasively deteriorated yet government has done little or nothing about them. Our situation got deteriorated after our roads were washed away by an unprecedented flood disaster that occured in 2021. Portions of our highways from Wa linking Savannah Region, Wa- Nadowli-Lawra-Nandom-Hamile highway which is also an international road as it links Ghana to the Sahelian countries are in a sordy state. Also, from Wa-Fian-Hain road that links the Upper West Region to the Upper East Region are some of the critical roads. One may also call such roads, economic roads by way of the indispensable role of these roads to the overall economy of Ghana.

On daily basis, fleet of long tracks move on those roads either exporting or importing goods to or from Ghana. One would have expected that government would pay critical attention to these roads and ensure that they are standard and are maintained/repaired regularly.

Alas, this is not the case! For the purposes of this write up, I will use the Wa-Nadowli-Lawra road for my message.

Between Sombo and Serekpere, accidents have become a daily ritual. Many long tracks, and mini buses alike involve in fatal accidents on that portion. On a single day, if one would not spot an accidented car, but one would certainly see debris and remnants of accidented vehicles including motorbikes. Any driver or rider who cannot follow the snake's movement pattern, cannot drive pass that portion without an accident or breakages. You may have to perfect your ability to meander round dotted deep potholes as if arranged in an intended pattern. These potholes have swallowed oceans of blood of taxpayers, who have had to join their early graves because we have not yet realized that those potholes are dangerous dead traps! When a bus with passengers get to those portions, the passengers leave their lives in their faiths. Silence murmuring, prayers and hymming, confessions and other things take place. You would not believe it until you find yourself in a bus moving along that dangerous road.

As this problem lingers, a new form of problem which I call "road mining and trade" has been introduced by young men from communities along that road. You see some, genuinely and seriously working on those potholes, filling them with gravel only to be managed for the next 12 hours. The work of these young men isn't inspired by patriotic volunteerism. They are there for business and they do have a good trade when the road is busy because they won't let any vehicle go by without them signaling to get something for their work done. That isn't bad after all since their temporary intervention save lives in a way. But wait, there is a more dangerous phenomena emerging from that, and we must deal with it with some alacrity.

Young men of school going age, either abandoned school and sneak to those portions of the road to engage in the pothole filling business. Some also go there immediately after school, denying them anytime to rest, do their assignments and other household chores. This is a dangerous trend on our roads now.

For most of these young men, they virtually engage in begging because they do not have the capacity to fill those aged potholes or they simply attempt filling them to trick oncomining vehicles for some money. These young ones are also exposed to several dangers on the road yet they are allowed there with or without the consent of their parents. Are we producing good, responsible citizens or we are training confident tricksters?

On one occasion, I stopped by, before Yaga, along the Nadowli-Lawra raod and some of these young men were running helter skelter, pretending to be working by fetching gravel with a calabash. I smiled and gave them money. On my return, I met them on same spot and they had done virtually nothing there. I gave them money again and had a lengthy conversation with them. I actually admonished them never to risk their lives standing on the highways and that they should rather focus on their books. Unfortunately the next day, I saw them again and before I stopped, they ran into the bush because I had advised them not do that work again. But subsequently, I have been meeting them and I simply ignore them!

I know this practice is becoming common along most parts of our roads and we must be worried that young people of school going age, now prefer to go and beg on our roads in the name of fixing our bad roads. How can those minors fix these deteriorated roads? Isn't that an attempt to find a third end to the rope?

Parents must sit up and not allow their wards to engage in such practices for money. Apart from the risks, they are also training themselves to become bad citizens by the tricks they are learning. Teachers and all stakeholders alike should sensitize students on this development.

Government should devise plans to regularly work on these potholes to reduce the rate of road accidents. Our region in particular, must be given special attention. We are suffering!

Government's promise of releasing 50 million Ghana Cedis to fix those washed away roads has since not been fulfilled.

See this:

No matter how insensitive leadership may be to the plight of road users in the Upper West Region, let's consider the future of these young ones and do something radically.

For God and Country.
Denis Andaban
The Village Boy From DBI