Accra, March 14, GNA – The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has called for collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, to clamp down on hawking and trading activities on major roads, pavements and other unauthorised locations.
The Assembly also expressed disquiet about the activities of some young men who rush on vehicles in traffic and attempt to clean windscreens without permission from the drivers in the bid to solicit for money for their services.
Numo Blafo III, Public Relations Officer of the AMA, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Wednesday deplored the illegal activities and stressed the need for the police to intervene to reverse the anomaly.
He alleged that sometimes police personnel looked on unconcerned while the traders and the youth undertook their illegal activities with impunity.
He claimed that although the AMA deployed their task force to accost perpetrators, their efforts often went unsupported by the police who happened to be on site.
Until recent times, the activities of hawkers, beggars and especially the youth who clean windscreens of vehicles in traffic had increased.
They are often seen plying their trade at Kaneshie-Mallam-Kasoa road, Achimota-Ofankor, Legon-Madina-Adenta road, Graphic road, Opeibea, Airport traffic light, Legon junction, National Theatre and Kawokudi junction.
They normally take drivers by surprise by initiating the process of cleaning the windscreens before their protesting 'customers' stop them mid- way.
Some of the stubborn young men disregard the protest and still go ahead to smear windscreens with soapy water dipped into a container.
When the traffic light turns green and the vehicles start moving, the cleaners' dash off the road waiting for their next 'victims'.
GNA inquiries at the Kawokudi junction on Tuesday evening (March 13), revealed that small boys ranging from eight and nine years had joined the illegal activity and are seen brandishing car dusters.
Two of them told the GNA on conditions of anonymity that they were on the streets trying to raise money for a school excursion slated for the campus of the University of Ghana, Legon.
Reacting to the incidence of street hawking and illicit soliciting for money, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Alexander Kweku Obeng, Head of Education and Research Unit of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Police in Accra, said the activities contravened the subsections 1 and 2 of Section 29 of the Road Traffic Act (Act 683) on directions to pedestrians.
He stressed that the hawkers, beggars and the youth who cleaned windscreens of vehicles could be categorised as jaywalkers.
ASP Obeng said Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Act said: “Any person on foot or horseback…who proceeds across or along the carriageway in contravention of a direction to stop given by the police officer or the authorised person, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both.”
He added that Subsection 2 of the law states that “A person who jaywalks or ignores traffic light signal, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 25 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one day”.
ASP Obeng called on the AMA to develop innovative strategies to address the challenge of street hawking, begging and other illegal activities.
He said some people hid behind economic interests to undertake unlawful trading, adding that the unemployed youth were typical examples.
ASP Obeng said the police personnel deployed to direct and control traffic on the roads could not in addition to the primary responsibility of ensuring road safety accost illegal activities of perpetrators.
He called for increased education to enable pedestrians appreciate the socio-economic importance of road safety.
On road safety, ASP Obeng suggested that road engineers should design major roads and highways in a manner that discouraged pedestrians from using unapproved routes to cross.
He described as unfortunate, recent road crashes experienced on major roads across the country.