16 August 2012

Nigeria: FCT Roads Deadliest - FRSC Boss

The corps marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Osita Chidoka, has said the deadliest accidents in the country occur on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) roads.

Chidoka, who was accompanied by road safety specialist Sub Saharan Africa Transport Programme, Mr. Per Mathiasen, stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of LEADERSHIP Newspapers in Abuja.

Citing bad driving rather than bad roads as major source of accidents in the country, Chidoka said it was regrettable that the FCT, despite having the best roads, has the deadliest accidents. Other routes he identified as flash-points include the Jos- Akwanga-Lafia road, Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja- Lokoja roads.

He said: "Bad roads don't cause accidents, bad drivers do. The highest number of deaths today are in the FCT, Abuja. If you do not use the roads correctly you will have problems whether the road is good or bad. So controlling drivers' behavior is very critical and that is why the media must come in."

The FRSC boss further stated that he was at LEADERSHIP to get an outsider's view and perspective of Nigeria's road safety, following the adoption of Nigeria and Argentina by the World Bank as two countries amongst developing nations whose road safety organisations are capable of meeting the target set for road security in the United Nation's Decade of Action programme.

The corps marshal also attributed the success of the FRSC over the past few years to the organisation's investment in the development of an intricate web of ICT in its spheres of duties as it concerns records/data collection, policy enforcement and public enlightenment.

He said: "We on the part of government have briefed the road safety expert Mathiasen, but I wanted him to come and hear from the other side of the divide. Since LEADERSHIP has a reputation for reporting us without fear or favour and being the flagship of the media in the Federal Capital Territory, we thought we should come here and interact with you to have your assessment of us."

On his part, Mathiasen, who said he was on a fact finding mission to Nigeria, described his visit as inspiring, saying that the media remained an indispensable arm in the bid to enthrone an enviable road safety culture. Mathiasen said: "The media is very powerful everywhere in the world. I have read your newspaper and others in Nigeria for the past three days and can see how serious issues affecting safety are being discussed.

This is good because it is a pre-requisite to confronting these challenges and hence the media must do more in collaborating and adding to enhance safety. In sub-saharan Africa, there is an appalling situation as it regards roads safety but it seems that Nigeria has found a way of keeping the trend low and this must be emulated by other countries in this region."

Welcoming Chidoka and his group earlier, the chairman and editor-in-chief of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, commended the efforts of the FRSC. He noted that it was important to see that there was a part of the Nigerian sector that was getting the recognition of the global community.

He also challenged Chidoka not to rest on his oars as there were numerous challenges that needed to be surmounted. He specifically pointed out that the government needed to increase the funding of the FRSC.

16 travellers die in auto crash along Kaduna-Abuja Road

An 18-seater bus yesterday morning plunged into a river along Kaduna-Abuja highway, killing about 16 passengers.

Our correspondent gathered that the vehicle, which was heading towards Abuja at about 9am, plunged into a river near Rijana village, few kilometers from Kaduna town.

According to an eyewitness, other travelers on the highway stopped to look at the accident scene but that there was no likelihood of any survivor from the accident.

The eyewitness added that there was heavy traffic jam on both sides of the highway as a result of sympathisers alighting from their vehicles to take a look at the accident scene.

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