According to the Oxford dictionary, Terror is the intense dread, fright, or fear, or the action or quality of causing dread, which has serious negative impact on human life and society as well.
Road accidents in Ghana have caused the highest level of fear and anxiety among the citizens due to the carelessness and reckless act of individuals causing terror on our roads.
Since independence, Ghana has not witnessed a single act of terrorism like many other countries in Africa and beyond but Ghana as a country, has its own “terrorists” that kill people more than most of the terrorist groups we have around the world. That killer is “ROAD ACCIDENTS”.
If you look at most of the terrorist activities in countries like Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia and many others where these activities are common, one will realises that they suffer the same fate as Ghanaians do through road accidents. Terrorist attacks are designed to instill fear, destroy lives and property as well as disturb the general well-being of societies through acts of violence by individuals or group of persons.
For many years, accidents on our roads have killed and endangered the lives of many Ghanaians, jeopardising fundamental freedoms and seriously impairing the dignity of human beings as is being experienced in many countries around the world through terrorist activities.
Our roads have now become the most deadly place one can find him/ herself not as a result of terrorist attacks but due to road accidents, in this country, when one is travelling the family has no peace till that person arrives or returns home.
Road accidents in Ghana have created disasters on a scale that has required the same kinds of hazard management, disaster response and long-term recovery that nations have had to provide for major terrorist activities, earthquakes, typhoons, floods, industrial accidents and other acts of nature and man.
Countries around the world are vulnerable to different forms of calamity. In some countries, terrorism, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur frequently; in others, typhoons and landslides are common, while others suffer frequent floods or droughts. But in Ghana, road accidents are the frequent phenomena which in normal circumstances, can be managed.
With this insecurity on our roads, the ‘security apparatus’ put in place to take care of any possible terrorist attacks by Ghana government is much more thorough and sophisticated than it is on our roads to protect the same lives that could be lost if terrorists strike.
It is truly shocking how large the gaps in security on our roads to protect lives and properties through accident are, and how well prepared we are waiting for terrorist attacks and other disasters that may or may not even occur. There is virtually no meaningful security on our roads to ensure that road users adhere to road safety regulations therefore, these vulnerabilities will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.
Road accidents can cause physical, financial and mental effects for everyone involved. Additional effects of road accidents can include emotional and mental distress as people can suffer from post-traumatic stress from being involved in road accidents or from losing a loved one due to road accidents which have the same effects as terrorist attacks.
Even though we all agree that the impact of one successful terrorist attack will be too catastrophic to contemplate, it will result in equal terms, the loss of lives as in road accidents.
It’s a common phenomenon in most countries around the world for authorities to take death caused by terrorist activities more seriously than deaths through sickness or human error. All because of the political gains at the end, and the politicians are insecure anytime they hear the word terrorist. So they prefer to commit more resources to prevent terrorist activities in order to remain in power than to do the same as in road accidents.
In 2017 alone, there were more road crashes in Ghana than terrorist attacks in Nigeria and more lives were lost through these accidents more than lives lost by terrorist attacks in Nigeria.
According to the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, the total number of persons killed in 2017 through road accidents was 2,076 as compared to 1,532 persons who lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks in Nigeria.
In 2016, persons killed by terrorist activities in Somalia is 735 (Global Terrorists Database) as compared to 2,084 persons killed in Ghana through road accidents in the same year.
Securitisation theory informs us that issues with regard to national security policy are being carefully designed by politicians and decision-makers, and is not a natural occurrence.
With this alarming rate of deaths on our roads, it is time we securitise the issues surrounding road accidents in Ghana. Issues are constituted as extreme security issues to be dealt with urgently when they have been labelled as ‘dangerous’, ‘threatening’, and ‘alarming’ by a ‘securitising actor’ who has the social and institutional power to move the issue beyond social context.
There is no doubt that terrorism has contributed to more injury and death around the world and has crucial importance as a factor in policymaking for a country like Ghana that has not experienced any attack.
Yet, other forms of preventable injury and deaths like those caused by road accidents, are also important and warrant the attention of policymakers.
There is also the political problem of giving priority to issues that have no direct impact on the seat of government, compared to dealing with problems that will jeopardise government’s total control of the country.
Successfully securitised subjects receive disproportionate amounts of attention and resources that are needed to achieve ultimate success.