A total of 94 people have lost their lives to road traffic crashes in 191 road crashes recorded in the last 5 days across the country.
Corps Marshall and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr. Osita Chidoka who disclosed this in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, when he stopped over in the course of the aerial monitoring of traffic situation on Lokoja-Abuja highway blamed the crashes on speed violation by road users.
Chidoka who expressed serious concern over the incidents said the attitude of the road users is unacceptable.
He said that with this negative fall-out, the Corps has devised speed calming measures as part of strategies to engender safer traffic conduct among motorists especially during the festive season.
He added that "It is an attitudinal issue as this year witnessed rehabilitation of major corridors of the highways, people tend to disregard traffic laws bordering on speed limits and accelerate beyond recommended speed thus resulting to the figures we have witnessed the last 5 days. We have devised measures to address this unpleasant development".
Chidoka however appealed to motorists to reduce their speed and obey traffic regulations so as to reduce carnage during the festive periods.
He expressed delight over the free flow of traffic on Abuja-Lokoja-Okene highways, attributing the success to the activities of his men and other security agencies and the improvement in road conditions across the country. He urged motorists to be mindful of road regulations, warning that acts of phoning while driving and drunk driving, over-speeding, overloading and seat belt violation would be visited with severe punishment.
With this development, the Corps Marshal said the Corps will re-double efforts to cope with expected influx of traffic during the new year to avert further crashes.
The State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Mohammed Garba commended the Federal Government for the timely repair of a section of Lokoja-Abuja road which was washed away in the recent flood disaster, saying that the action contributed immensely to the free flow of traffic being experienced on the road now.
He also stated that enough men and vehicles had been deployed to strategic points in the state, saying that the current level of patrol would be sustained till mid-January.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, the Corps Marshal said the FRSC has sustained aerial surveillance to get real-time information on the traffic situation on the nation's roads during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, adding that the purpose of the surveillance was to identify areas of gridlock and resolve them to ease travelling.
According to him, the helicopter flight will take the Corps' officials over Gwagwalada, Lokoja, Onitsha, 9th Mile and other areas that usually experience serious jams during the Yuletide. The Corps Marshal added that the surveillance would enable the Corps to monitor the flow of traffic in many parts of the country.
Chidoka explained that the Corps recently carried out a road audit which was submitted to the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Road Management Agency, adding that the agencies had since rehabilitated many bad roads to make driving smoother for motorists. He said, "In my five years as Corps Marshal, I have never seen such a concentrated effort to rehabilitate the roads by FERMA and the Ministry of Works.
Still on the aerial patrol, Chidoka was also at the Niger Bridge in Onitsha to monitor traffic which extended into the city and the neighbouring city of Asaba, Delta State where promptly directed for re-allignment of patrol strategies as the Anambra State Sector Commander, Hyginus Omeje, Corps Commander had to relocate to Onitsha on Sunday from Awka.
The traffic on Monday, however, was heavier at the Asaba end of the Niger Bridge as thousands of motorists struggled to gain access to the bridge from the Western and Northern parts of the country. Vehicular movement in other parts of Anambra State had increased as many citizens of the state and their families troop out for the Christmas celebrations but the presence of the Corps' operatives in Onitsha and support from component Commands in Delta State, contributed to normal traffic flow along the Asaba-Onitsha highway.
However, as at yesterday, there has not been report of any major road crash since the traffic began to build up a few days ago along the Asaba-Onitsha corridor.