2017 is gradually giving way to a new year and the end of the year rush is here already. Equally if the roads are expected to get busy with increase in vehicular movement. The peak should be in this December when most Nigerians living outside their cities and towns will be heading back home to reunite with their families back home and celebrate the new year together.
There is however an apprehension over the deplorable state of the roads. The fear is that the roads might not be able to withstand the pressure of expected heavy vehicular movement associated with the end of the year season. As a matter of fact, the law makers ask President Muhammad Buhari to declare a state of emergency on dilapitated federal roads nationwide.
In the same event, Governors and leaders of thought from the southeast enjoined the President to initiate palliative measures to make federal roads in the region possible. They lamented the poor state of the highways which they said are more or less death traps to travellers. This brings to us to the issue of safety some Nigerians would and must in December and if the roads are indeed bad should we consider movements on this roads as embarking on a suicide mission? Well, that is a question every one of us must answer. The transportation network in Nigeria is so imbalance that the highest movement is concentrated on the roads.
The waterways and the rail system potentials are still waiting to be maximized. The airways can not be said to be masses oriented. The weeping boy at the end of the day remains traveling by the road. So, how then do we fix the problem of safety on our dilapitated roads?
✓Can the federal highways as it were support the pressure of the end of the year movements?
✓ What has been the FRSC interaction with government agencies to activate alternative transportation means to decongest the roads?
The Corp Marshall Federal Road Safety Commission, Boboye Oyeyemi, said “the level of deterioration is not something that happened overtime, it is something that occurred over a period due to depositing of funds in doing this, i.e. highways has been abandoned for some time and the cost of rehabilitation is very high. The present administration has been able to raise fund to the ministry of power, works and housing to commence rehabilitation as well as FERMA. FERMA is also working on the…. With the prevailing system we should show some level of understanding. We have already carried out the fundamentals. We have conducted road safety update of virtually all the major federal roads and we have forwarded the road safety update report to the honourable minister. And he has given full assurance that before the beginning of the yuletide season all these would have been cleared out. Action has commenced on some of the critical areas especially the eastern part of the country.”
“Is not that the roads are fully in bad shape, e.g Abuja-Lokoja road, but some section are bad in which actual work is required. We are appealing to the road users that the FRSC is fully aware of the bad sections in which remedial work has commerced. Let us plan our journey and be more careful on this axis where the roads are bad. What will cause more hold-up is ignoring the nature of the roads while everyone tends to move at a fast speed resulting to creation of multiple lanes.” He made this known during a radio interview with Ambrose Somide, a radio presenter at RAYPOWER 100.5 FM.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, as an expert in art and science of transportation emphasised that the transportation sector is in crisis and the pressure is too much on the roads. 90% of the mobilities are on the road and the solution to these, is effective railway system. Once we have effective railway system, all these cargoes or haulage system will be reduced.
There are so much violations. The violation by the transporter is such that a tanker is expected to carry 36,000 litres but carries between 45,000 and 60,000 litres on the same road. The roads are not designed to convey 45,000 litres. Also, a trailer is expected to carry 600 bags of cement but carries 900 to 1200 bags on thesame road. These roads are not designed for this load. If all the transport operators and other set of transporters (commercial drivers) comply with the maximum load they suppose to carry, the level of deterioration would not be like this. We need to really watch this. Don’t blame government all the time. We are contributing more damages to the road.
Also, the level of vandalization is high. Nigerians remove road sign that suppose to give direction and kilopost that shows kilometres from one place to another for no reason. We need to examine ourselves, we need to change our attitude. The moment all Nigerians can comply with traffic rules and regulations, the more wit will be better for the country.
Road users should stick to rules governing the usage of road. Let’s change our attitude, at least for once. Let make safety our watch word and things would fall in to places.