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Date: November 9th, 2018

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Bad Roads, Ember Months and Safety of Life

Bad roads in Nigeria

A major cause of road accidents in Nigeria is bad roads. As at today, it is difficult to ply the length of any major road in the country without encountering dangerous portions and death traps. This is not good for a richly-endowed country that boasts 56 years of nationhood.
The deplorable state of roads in Nigeria has certainly become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment as there is hardly any part of the country that can boast of motorable roads – be those roads Trunk A (federal), Trunk B (state) or Trunk C (local government) roads.
Scores of innocent people are killed daily in avoidable accidents on account of the bad roads, man-hours are lost in traffic, and the national economy suffers incalculable losses. It is high time governments at all levels treated road infrastructure as a priority to enhance economic development and also saw it as a national security tool.
The ’ember’ months of the year predictably witness an escalation of all these as we are experiencing these months. Through research and study conducted, it is noted that the rate of road accidents during the ember months has always been on the increase, because of the unimaginable travelling rate of people which commercial drivers are willing to exploit.
The FRSC in 2015 reported that no fewer than 120 persons were killed in road crashes across the country between December 19 and 28 of 2014. The figure, according to the Corps translates to 42 percent reduction when compared to 2013 figure of 208 within the same period.
It also recorded 48 percent reduction in the number of road traffic crashes within the period, which stood at 193, in comparison with 368 road crashes in 2013 while a 53 percent reduction was also recorded in injuries in 2014 with 733 injured persons as against the 2013 figure of 1,564.
In the same vein, the 2014 figure of 193 road traffic crashes comprise 62 fatal, 115 serious and 15 minor reported cases while the 2013 figure of 368 comprise 113 fatal, 225 serious and 30 minor reported cases of road traffic crashes recorded in December, 2014.
This reduction in the crashes figures between 2013 and 2014 is a fall-out of the Corps’ massive deployment of personnel and logistics along critical corridors based on intelligence derived from 2013 yuletide operations.
Going by the report, if deployment of Corps personnel could record such reduction in crashes and deaths, efforts at road maintenance, if implemented, could give us a zero crash, and cost the nation no death due to road accident this ember period.
The maintenance of roads needs urgent attention to reduce huge loss of lives and property recorded in the ember months due to accidents caused by the shameful status of our roads. Some of these roads, including the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Mando highway, Kano-Maiduguri highway, Abaji-Lokoja-Okene highway, Enugu -Makurdi highway, and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual carriageway, notorious for fatal accidents, underscore this.
With a road network totaling approximately 204,000 kilometres and about 12.76 million registered motor vehicles and motorcycles, Nigeria is one of the countries, according to experts, that spend more than three times higher on vehicle maintenance than most countries of the world due to the poor nature of roads across the federation. This is the reason majority of the vehicles are poorly maintained.
We call on the Federal Government as well as state and local governments to immediately fix the roads before the Christmas celebration in view of the heavy traffic usually witnessed during the period. It is a serious indictment that road accident is the third leading cause of death in Nigeria.
It is our belief that the number of accidents will be reduced if the roads are fixed and properly maintained.