Paschal Emeka, Abuja
A non-Governmental Organization, Accident Prevention and Rescue Initiative (APRI) has decried the rising rate of road crashes in the country and the inability of governments and at all levels to pioritise road crash prevention measures especially in the area of strengthening the capacity of road traffic and vehicle inspection agency and their officers.
In a press release by Executive Director APRI, Prince Fidelis Nnadi noted that Nigeria is among countries with high rate of motor vehicle related activities and operations, with its attendant impact on road transportation, mechanics, artisans and other sectors of commercial activities.
According to him; “the transport system in Nigeria has remained archaic to such extent that there is no implementable road transport policy that is obvious in considering safety of road users. Our roads are constructed in same design of our former colonial masters.
“The vehicles/cars imported and sold in Nigeria are of substandard quality compared to the standard used in European countries. Drivers lack well equipped training centers while auto mechanics undergo trainingsl without government approved standards and above all the legal framework towards regulating road transport operations is either nonexistent or obsolete where they exist.
He observed that the operators of road transport are equally not at ease in business as most of Nigeria roads are in bad shapes all year round, adding that various extortions by some unscrupulous people on the roads is contributing in the depletion of the revenue of transport owners and subject drivers to degrees of trauma that affects their safety consciousness while on the wheels resulting to increase in road crashes, destroying lives and property.
Prince Nnadi therefore called on the three tiers of governments to look down and have compassion for road users that includes vehicle occupants and develop the political will to tackle road crashes on the roads.
He revealed that the FRSC and NBS reports put the number of people killed in road crashes to 41,793 from 2013 to 2020, while 2,176 lives were killed in six months in 2021. According to him, these figures refer to reported cases while unreported cases could double the figure.
Nnadi opined that governments at all levels should as a matter of urgency open up to Public Private Partnership in tackling road crashes prevalence in the country; establish road traffic safety fund and utilize such funds in road safety campaigns, road repairs, driver training, Vehicle Inspection, operation vehicles, patrol motorbikes including welfare for operatives.
Prince Fidelis Nnadi challenged fleet operators such as Dangote, BUA, luxurious bus operators, NUPENG and owners of trailers to come forward to support road traffic and safety funding to reduce the current rate of deaths and injuries caused by preventable and avoidable road.