For road accidents that claim lives on daily basis on Nigerian roads to reduce, it requires joint efforts among stakeholders. PETER USMAN looks at the collaboration between FRSC and NURTW in this regard.
The old adage that says, “two heads are better than one” has been around for more than four centuries and from all indications, collaborative efforts have been yielding positive results with particular reference to road accidents in Nigeria.
Recently, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW in Abuja have agreed to partner on issues of overloading, in the collective efforts to bring down the rate of road traffic crashes and fatalities in the country.
The programme was held with the understanding that no safety agency operates in alone successfully without support from critical stakeholders; it engages stakeholders in the particular area of its operations with a view to forging common front against a particular challenge. It helps to eliminate barriers, increases opportunities for success, enriches the change process, educates stakeholders about the community corrections agency’s work, and creates a shared vision that supports systemic change efforts faster.
Therefore, the collaborating efforts of these two organisations would go a long way to drastically reduce road traffic crashes in the nation’s roads as both organizations will continue to be partners in progress for the purpose of achieving one goal: safety on Nigerian roads.
However, the partnership agreement was sequel to the advocacy visit paid recently to the NURTW headquarters in Abuja by the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi over the recent occurrence of fatal crashes in parts of the country this year, which claimed several lives. Oyeyemi, who said that the crashes resulted in loss of several lives due to overloading, warned all stakeholders to rise up to the occasion with a view to preventing reoccurrence, stating that appropriate measures must be put in place to guide against such an occurrence in the future.
Talking about the successes recorded by the Corps at the end of last year’s special patrol, Oyeyemi attributed it to the collaboration between the FRSC and the NURTW, as well as other stakeholders, but however expressed dismay that few weeks into the New Year 2015, fatal crashes claimed several lives.
“Nigerians were happy with the drastic reduction in the crashes and fatalities recorded during last year’s operations as compared to the previous years. And that success was attributable to the effective collaboration between the FRSC and the NURTW as well as the logistics support of other stakeholders”
“It is therefore, painful that few weeks into the New Year, there were fatal crashes at Ilesha, Damaturu and Talata Marafa, which claimed several lives. That is why I have come here with my team to discuss with you on the way out. And our enquiries showed that the cause of the higher fatalities was due to the fact that the vehicles were overloaded. The Corps would not tolerate such occurrence again and all necessary measures must be put in place to guide against it”, he said.
The Corps Marshal, while commending the NURTW President, Alhaji Nazeem Yasin for his untiring commitment to issues of road safety in the country, emphasised the need to sustain the partnership between the two organisations in the interest of the motoring public.
Speaking further, he stated that Alhaji Nazeem has introduced positive changes and innovative ideas into the management of the Union, adding that the two organisations must continue to work together for safety of all road users.
In addition, Corps Marshal Oyeyemi stressed the need for all members of the union to abide by the traffic rules and regulations, especially for all the members to always be in possession of their valid driver’s licence, which he said is the only legal document that permits anyone to drive a motor vehicle.
On the need to collectively tackle the menace of overloading, which has been identified as the cause of greater fatalities in the few crashes that occurred in the year under review, it was agreed that the two organisations would launch a joint campaign targeted at sensitizing members of the public on the offence.
The campaign, which would be launched at motor parks, will be followed with motor park rallies, distribution of handbills and utilisation of other means of communications targeted at sensitising members of the public on the need to avoid overloading vehicles.
The Corps Marshal also thanked the Union President for his inputs in the policy on the compulsory use of speed limiters in vehicles, enforcement of which commences with commercial drivers as from 1st of June, this year.
“It was the concern which the Union President has for the safety of lives and property of all road users that informed his support for the introduction of the speed limiters in vehicles, which all stakeholders keyed into. We will continue to work with the union to make the nation’s roads safe for all road users”
The level of cordiality that exists between the FRSC and NURTW remained a welcome development as the NURTW President; Alhaji Nazeem Yasin even expressed satisfaction over the partnership considering the results so far recorded. He stressed that he would do everything possible to sustain the partnership and continue to work hand in hand with the Corps in the collective desire to make the nation’s roads safer for all.
Speaking specifically on overloading, the Union President stated that the offence of overloading has been effectively eliminated from all the accredited Motor parks used by his members across the country.
Accordingly, he insisted that no vehicle would be allowed to leave any of the designated parks with overloaded passengers against the number permitted by law. He added that cases of overloading being perpetrated by some drivers could not have involved his members who only load their vehicles from the parks.
Having considered the importance of the collaboration, Nazeem therefore appealed to the relevant authorities to join hands with the Union to rid the country of illegal parks and operators in the effort to restore orderliness in commercial transportation system and bringing cases of overloading to strict control and effective monitoring.
It was cleared that at the end of the deliberation, it was agreed that both the FRSC and NURTW should continue to work to sustain the existing collaboration, while the process of launching the joint campaign by the two organisations be worked out by a select committee that would work out the modalities for periodic motor park rallies at different motor parks across the country.
At the study centre of the National Open University of Nigeria being hosted by the Union, the Corps Marshal was full of commendation to the NURTW president for making concerted efforts to produce graduate drivers, who would redeem the image of driving profession in the country, as their qualification would bring them out as members of an enlightened profession FRSC is the lead agency for road safety management and administration in Nigeria.