Road Accidents have claimed the lives of 217,875 Nigerians in nine years between 2011 and 2020 as the nation recorded a staggering 111,920 road crashes and 402,360 casualties.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani revealed this at the 2nd edition of the Public Policy dialogue organized by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIOTA) Nigeria, recently.
At the virtual meeting, Dr. Ajani observed that road transport mode is the predominant mode for movement of goods and services in the country, describing the road mode as the first and last-mile-carriage of the Nigeria’s transport network.
She, however, lamented that security challenges on the nation’s highways remain unprecedented, rampant, and worrisome, emphasizing the need to strengthen safety and security of the road transport system nationwide.
“As a strategy to cub insecurity, she said the FMT in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior introduced and launched the Internal Security and Public Safety Alert System (NISPSAS) Mobile App on Thursday, 12th May, 2022. The N-App was developed to improve the safety and security of Road Transport Commuters as well as to aid in contact tracing at Motor Parks. This Application is expected to generate accurate statistics for road users and operators and reduce road crimes such as kidnapping,” she said.
With the road mode consisting of the intracity, intercity, inter-state, and the regional/cross country transport services for carriage of persons and haulage of freight, she said that is it unfortunate that road transport operation in the country is dominated by unregulated privately owned vehicles.
Meanwhile, she acknowledged the Federal Government’s massive road rehabilitation programme for federal roads, that has significantly improved the nation’s motorable road standard through the Federal Ministry of Works while the Federal Ministry of Transportation is charged with the overall responsibility of policy fomulation and implementation.
In his welcome, the President of CIoTA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh who represented by CIoTA’s Deputy President, Mr. Darlington Ofor observed that around the world, road traffic injuries cause 1.25 million deaths and up to 50 million injuries each year.
“These injuries can lead to lifelong disability including brain and spinal-cord injury. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death especially among young people. With only 2% of the world’s vehicles but 16% of road fatalities and Africa has been hit particularly hard by the global road safety crisis.”
“It is in view of the need to critically address this crisis by professionally proffering workable solutions that the Institute organizes this programme to bring together critical stakeholders, technical experts and policy makers in the transport sector to share knowledge and best practices on managing road transportation and its associated risks and safety challenges in Nigeria and how this knowledge can be rightly deployed to transform the road sector in relation to UN Road Safety Goals,” he said.
Also speaking at the summit, the Director, Centre for Logistics and Transport Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Osi Akpoghomeh, noted that according to the WHO, (2004) and UN (2003) projection that by 2020 road traffic injuries could rank third among the causes of death and disability, ahead of such other health problems as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
“These figures will increase by about 65% by 2050 unless there is new commitment to prevention that trajectory” he stressed even as he opined that the statistics on road traffic accidents/crashes in Nigeria is frightening and underscores the urgent need for a review of the approach to road safety management.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM), Dr. Kayode Olagunju introduced Road Safety as the use of the road without attracting any harm or death to oneself or others and not destroying through automobile the road and infrastructure.
Olagunju, while presenting the 2nd paper of the Dialogue titled “Transport Safety Management in Nigeria: Challenges and Possibilities, said the WHO recognizes Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) is a complex public health issue and a leading cause of deaths the world over. Specifically in Nigeria where the financial implication of road disasters is estimated at over $7billion annually.
The current Commandant of the FRSC Academy Udi, explained that road safety management could be described as the coordination of several inputs to enhance safety on the road.
However, he admitted that with the constant advocacy the myriad of challenges which are the militating issues affecting enhancement of road safety, could be addressed.
The online summit was moderated by the CIOTA National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika.