Abuja- Nassaraw-Keffi Expressway Expansion Project. Inset: Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola, Works and Housing Minister
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, has expressed deep concern over the astronomical, increase in road crashes on most of the federal highways and their attendant human casualties which cumulatively was greater than deaths caused by Malarial and COVID-19 put together.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola, briefed the FRSC of the grim statistics submitted by the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, which revealed that the majority of the fatal crashes were recorded on three of the major federal highways in the country.
He mentioned the highways as, the Lagos-Ibadan Express road, the Abuja-Kano Highway, and the Abuja-Keffi-Lafia Highway.
Barrister Fashola further said the triangular highway axis recorded the highest cumulative number of road accidents for the months of January, and February 2021, where more people died of road accidents than COVID-19 and malaria combined
The Works Minister said the concern was heightened by the fact that the causative factor of the majority of accidents was not caused by bad roads.
Fashola said the available statistics revealed unusually high numbers of casualties in January 2021, which was compared with January 2020, 2019 and 2018 and still found to be the highest, prompted the concern
He further explained the rationale for the call for statewide attention for the carnage thus, “We saw that in January 2021, the number of people who died from road crashes exceeded the combined number of people who died from malaria and COVID-19 in the same month and, while malaria and COVID-19 were receiving national concerted attention, we considered it necessary to bring this to the attention of the government as part of our strategy for protecting lives and property”
He further said the culprit for about 70 percent of the road crashes were drivers who more often indulged in over speeding, loss of control, wrongful overtaking, brake failure, and tire blow-out.
Fashola, however, emphasized that the impact of bad roads and accidents was less than two per cent (2%) and this informed the ministerial directive to the FRSC to pay more than usual attention to the drivers on, “the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, the Abuja-Kano Highway, and Abuja-Keffi-Lafia Highway, which show from the data we studied that they had the cumulative highest number of accidents. If we reduce accidents in those three main highways, we would have really dented the number,” he said.
On the immediate plans to mitigate these grim statistics, the minister said his ministry had begun installation of road traffic signs and ordered more patrol and strongly considering the installation of speed metres on the highway.
He said very high premium was placed on drivers’ education, certification, and explained, “this is going to be a multi-disciplinary activity from the Ministry of Education, Ministries of Information, FRSC, states and local governments in terms of how they test and certify drivers,” he revealed.
Barrister Raji Fashola however highlighted what the FEC had agreed as a further action plan, “so, we’ve identified the need for various actions to be taken from municipal, local government level to state and national level and I acknowledge the fact that after this memo was listed, I got the notice of a Presidential Committee, the National Road Safety Advisory Council, which will be inaugurated by the Office of the Vice President”, very soon.
He described the FEC resolution in addressing the road carnage thus, “this is one step in the right direction under the aegis of the National Economic Council (NEC). Therefore, that should bring all the 36 States together. We can take this conversation there”, Fashola said.Share