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The recent spate of road accident on Nigerian roads has become a night mare to many road users. In the past, what was seen to be a major contributor of road accident was the poor deplorable nature of the road. It is a known fact that most of the roads were full of pot holes making vehicular movement difficult. For many years successive governments in the country had tried to put the roads in order but to no avail. Nigerian roads in the past were seen and known to be death traps for motorists and commuters. And that has caused fear in the mind of road users in the past.
Indeed, pot holes on Nigerian roads have caused unnecessary delay of movement of passengers and had caused countless road accidents. And that particular factor has made some road users to abandon road transport for air transport. Road transport is the cheapest means of transportation in Nigeria and the most threatening and deadly because of the state of deplorable nature of the roads. The high ways cutting across the states of the federation were terribly bad. The federal government has been accused on several occasions of not doing enough to put the roads in order.
Incessant road accident has been attributed to heavy pot holes defacing the roads thereby making the roads impassable.
Indeed, one of the major factors that led to the establishment of Federal Road Safety Commission was to control road accident and the nature of cars that ply the roads. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has done enough to curtail road accident in the country. Indeed, it is worthy to note that most motorists flout road ‘traffic laws which in turn lead to accident. Most drivers do not obey road signs. It is worrisome to see some drivers driving at 80 speed meter where there is a road sign of 40. Road accident has been a daily ritual that must be heard every day.
Yes, in this dispensation the federal government is actually fixing some major high ways for smooth movement of vehicles. For instance from 1st to 6’ April more than three hundred people have lost their lives. Some of the roads where these accidents took place where in order compare to the past state of the roads last year. But some drivers decide to drive the way they wish without thinking about the lives of passengers on board. The government has received much blames for not fixing the roads. But now some of the roads are fixed and one wonders what is responsible for the unnecessary road accident across the nation.
On 1st 2013, a J5 commercial bus with eighteen passengers on board rammed into a luxurious bus killing all the passengers on the express road leading to Abuja. Still on high way accident, at Ore express way a bus collided with tanker loaded with fuel and burst into serious inferno which led to the death of over eighty people. Also in Anambra and Edo states on Friday 5th April there were multiple accidents that led to the death of all the passengers. On that same Friday April, at about 6:15am in Port Harcourt, a commercial taxi driver hit another car at Water Lines junction, thereby causing serious damage to other cars and other road users.
Road accident is on the alarming rate in recent times. Also in Owerri last weekend there was a fatal road accident that claimed over thirty lives. Indeed, on Saturday 6th April, as an eye witness account a Siena car ran into a drainage at Kira / Nonwa East/West road axis in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State killing five persons instantly. The accident occurred at about 6:55pm that fateful evening. The road where this accident occurred at Kira is superb without pot hole. The East/West road from Ete to Ogoni in Rivers State is fine. Thus, road accident is possible to control if road users would adhere to rules and regulations guiding driving on the high ways. Those on high speed limit beyond traffic regulation should be arrested as it is done in other countries of the world. It is pathetic to see how people flout traffic laws and go scout free in the sight of Federal Road Safety Commission officials on our high ways. Most of the cars plying the roads are with expired tyres and expired tyres should not be used and if used should be on low speed.
The good roads in the country now should not turn to deathtrap again, because of reckless driving. In Nigeria most of the commercial drivers drive under the influence of alcohol thereby causing unnecessary accident on the roads. The National Union of Road transport workers should also educate their members of the negative effects of over speeding, over loading, using expired tyres and driving under the influence of drugs and answering calls while on high ways. Of a truth, the high ways are taking a new took therefore accident prone to bad roads should be a thing of the past. In London last month one of the international footballers was arrested for over speeding. But in Nigeria is a style that is celebrated. Of a truth federal emergency road management agency has done something commendable for fixing some worst spot on the roads. The Federal Road Safety Commission whose statutory functions is to control what happen on the roads should sit up to arrest traffic offenders in order to control the spate of road accident to save the lives of Road users. ###
Frank Eneawaji Ogwuonuonu