The Accident Prevention and Rescue Initiative (APRI) has identified poor funding and inadequate training as the bane of the Road Traffic Officers of states/FCT popularly called the VIOs.
The group therefore called on state governments to as a matter of urgency ensure that they are properly trained and equipped to enhance the performance of their constitutional responsibilities towards complimenting road traffic safety efforts.
In a press statement in Abuja by Prince Fidelis Nnadi, Executive Director, APRI in Abuja, Nnadi blamed state governors for not prioritizing the functions of their respective road traffic and vehicle inspection agencies for improved capacity building.
“Road users are being exposed to risk of road traffic accidents daily while the governors are yet to establish adequate policies that will improve the quality and standard of these agencies saddled with the responsibility of complimenting safety efforts for road users.
We are very concerned about the attitude of many State Government and their Governors over their abysmal response to road crash deaths and injuries on their roads which also extends to Federal Highways,” Nandi stressed.
According to him, statistics obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, 2,598 people were killed by road traffic accident within six months in 2018.
Prince Fidelis Nnadi further revealed that some states such as Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Nasarawa Kogi, Kebbi, Zamfara and many others lack adequate facilities and manpower in their Road Traffic/ Vehicle Inspection agencies while the incidences of road traffic accidents and loss of lives and property are unabated on their respective roads.
He lamented that many state governments allocate huge resources to other agencies with little or nothing for the agency saddled with road traffic and safety of road users, adding that road users have been highly neglected and abandoned to their fate in terms of government proactive actions over their safety.
“We have made several appeals to state governors to take a cue from the Federal Road Safety Commission, a federal agency on how they are adequately funded and operated by the federal government and to also do same to their own agencies to enable proper coordination that will add value to safety of road users and others whose activities are affected by the operations of the agency.
“Accordingly, we are appealing to the chairman Nigeria Governors Forum, His Excellency, Kayode Fayemi to wake up and influence the transformation of Vehicle Inspection Officers and their agencies to a modern but effective and efficient Para-military body that can meet with the challenges of reducing or curtailing the increasing road traffic accidents, deaths and injuries on our roads.