FG: Road Accidents Claimed More Lives In January Than COVID-19, Malaria


…Says Bad Roads Not Responsible For Most Crashes

The federal government has expressed worries over the increasing number of car crashes on the nation’s highways, saying road accidents claimed more lives in January 2021, than the combination of COVID-19 and malaria.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing Sate House Correspondents at the end of the week’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Fashola said the concern was contained in a note he presented to the Council on the need to be conscious of the increased number of road traffic crashes on federal highways, saying that the majority of accidents are not caused by bad roads.

He said the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, the Abuja-Kano Highway, and Abuja-Keffi-Lafia Highway, have the highest cumulative number of road accidents, saying that for the month of February, more people died of road accidents than COVID-19 and malaria combined.

“Because of the importance, Council was of the considered view that I brief about the need to take notice of the increased number of road traffic crashes on federal highways because every month we get reports from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who are usually one of the first arrivals at crash sites on the highways.

“Those reports are addressed to the Presidency through the Secretary to Government of the Federation, where the FRSC is domiciled, but they are copied to my office and we pay attention to these things and we notice unusually high numbers in January 2021, which we compared with January 2020, 2019 and 2018.

“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 were receiving national concerted attention, we considered it necessary to bring this to the attention of government as part of our strategy for protecting lives and property,” he explained.

Fashola said three federal highways including Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Keffi-Lafia and Abuja-Kano highways were identified as the ones with the most number of casualties.

“So, we 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 Thursday by the Office of the Vice President.

“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.

“We highlighted the fact that my office has asked the FRSC to focus on three roads: 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.

The Minister of works also enumerated some of the measures already being put in place to address the problem.

He said drivers are responsible for 70 percent of the causes of the road crashes on Nigeria’s highways.

“So, we started the process in April. We should collate the figure by the end of June, hopefully, into July. This includes installation of road traffic signs and more patrol. We are also looking at putting speed metres on the highway. There is a combination of factors and we are also trying to educate drivers.

“We saw that the biggest factor for these accidents; from over speeding, loss of control, wrongful overtaking, brake failure, tyre blow-out points to the role of the driver. Consistently over the years and this data is available, the impact of bad roads and accidents was less than two percent.

“These factors I have mentioned; over speeding, loss of control, wrongful overtaking cumulate to over 70 percent. If we reduce this, we bring the numbers down. So, I think our focus as a government is that we’ve agreed that the driver has a role to play, starting from education and certification. So, this is going to be a multi-disciplinary activity from the Ministry of Education, Ministries of Information, FRSC, state and local governments in terms of how they test and certify drivers,” he said.

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