Almost every street of Accra is obstructed by a vehicle. Some examples of areas obstructed with vehicles or other materials are Teshie, Nungua, Osu among others.
Obstruction of road is usually a criminal offense as well as a tort and it’s the duty of the highway authorities under the Highway Act 1980 to prevent the obstruction of roads in their areas. Not only vehicles but also street works or road works, skips, scaffolds, hoarding, advertising boards, and building materials are some of the things to be considered. The unmovable vehicles make the road narrow, difficult to access by pedestrians and other moving cars. Moving vehicles and pedestrians at times have to wait for other cars to pass before accessing the streets.
Abandoned vehicles also explain the offense which maybe committed when a vehicle is abandoned. It is also the duty of the local authority to remove these vehicles and steps which should be taken to locate the owner of the vehicle.
Mechanics on the other hand also pack faulty cars and also repaired cars at the edges of the streets in most areas. Nevertheless, roads without unmovable vehicles are blocked for ceremonies such as funerals, parties, and so on without security presence.
Unfortunately, most of the street lights in these affected areas are malfunctioning hence, making the streets dark at nights and unsafe be used. With this, some youth characterizes on the nature of the road and attack, rob innocent people or pedestrians.
Most jurisdictions consider the obstruction or blocking of roads an illegal activity and have developed rules to prosecute those who block, impede or interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrians’ traffic upon Public Street or high way. According to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly bye –laws 2017 under protection of roads, 1(c), person shall not wash vehicle, material or article on the road. 1(d) also states that a person shall not place or permit to any material or article on the road.
A notice from a local authority to unauthorized campers under section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 states that all occupants of vehicles on a specified land and any other persons with them must remove their vehicles and any other property from the land. There is no requirement or authorization for a deadline but it may help the recipients to know how they can stay. The notice states that it is a criminal offence not to comply with the direction and warns that if its disobeyed, the local authority intends to apply for an order under section 78 of the CJPOA 1994 which will authorize the council to remove the people, vehicles and the property.
The laws are stated especially in the AMA’s bye-laws but nothing is being done about blocking of roads for the past four years of observance.
Majority of private vehicle owners also pack their cars on the roads because they do not have garages in their homes or compounds.
What is the Assembly doing about this situation? Accra Metropolitan Assembly is responsible and must enforce its own bye-laws and the local government act 2016 to ensure security on our roads.
By: Asare Regina