Over-speeding and dangerous overtaking have caused several road traffic crashes across the country. Stakeholders are generally of the opinion that bad or unmotorable roads have seriously contributed to road accidents on the nation’s roads. Many have opined that government should address the problem once and for all.
Recently, the United Nations drew global attention to the plight of children on the world’s roads to generate action to better ensure their safety in line with the United Nations Decade of Action for road safety, 2011-2020, but to what extent has the government considered the safety of children on the roads?
As the global community commemorates this year’s edition of the road safety week sometime in May this year, the event which was heightened by global statistics on road crashes indicated that about 186,300 children under 18 years die from road traffic crashes annually.
One of the major factors that leads to road crashes in recent time in Nigeria remains bad road; and hence the need for government to do something urgently in the area of road construction to stem the road traffic to a minimum cannot be over emphasised.
It has been reported that substantial number of accidents that occurred on the Nigeria roads were caused when motorists were trying to dodge potholes. Some Nigerians therefore suggested that roads should be well constructed to avoid the appearance of potholes.
According to the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, the rates of road traffic deaths are three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries, but efforts put in place to reduce the rate of crashes in the country is not yielding result as expected.
In Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Corps’ statistics on road crashes involving children indicate that 1, 903 were killed and 8,667 other children injured in 61,806 reported cases of road crashes between 2010 and 2014.
Out of these on fatalities, 1,138 males and 765 female children died in the last 5 years while 5,426 males and 3, 241 female children were also injured during the same period.
During the global community commemorates “several events were hosted by governments, international agencies, civil society organizations, and private companies, including the delivery of the “Child Declaration for Road Safety” to policy-makers.
The events further highlight the World Health Organization’s package of ten key strategies for keeping children safe on the road.
Further to this arrangement, in September this year, all Governments will be meeting at the United Nations to launch a new set of global Goals for future development.
According to the United Nations, “The ‘post-2015’ Sustainable Development Goals will set the agenda for all work, worldwide on international development. They will replace the current ‘Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
“There is therefore a global push for road safety which was not initially included in the Millennium Development Goals, to be integrated and given priority attention across the globe.
“Road traffic injuries have a health burden on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis, and the death rate is increasing. The crisis is most severe in developing countries, which account for 90% of the 1.3 million road traffic fatalities each year.
“The United Nations has recognised that road traffic injury represents a major public health and development crisis. In the first draft of the new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, Governments have included a target to halve road traffic fatalities.
“The Save Kids’ Lives campaign together with partners around the world is now calling on world leaders to ensure that this target is in the new Goals when they are launched in September 2015,” it said.
The danger is that, if road safety is not included in the Sustainable Development Goals, there will not be adequate support to ensure that road safety is a priority worldwide, and particularly in developing countries.
As the nation’s lead agency on road safety management, the Federal Road Safety Corps is expected to commemorate this global event with lined up activities through media campaign involving school children, youths, Federal Ministries of Education and Women Affairs, in addition to distribution of safety fliers to educate them on road safety.
However, Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, who led the Corps’ management team on advocacy visits to strategic partners and stakeholders on road safety such as the Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, National Union of Teachers, Federal Ministries of Health, Education and Women Affairs, Federal Character Commission and House Committee on Road Safety was a welcome development as the message was passed across through the visit.
In the same vein, the Road Safety Officers’ Wives Association also used the week to visit orphanage homes while a special Juma’at service preceded a church service, as part of activities to further draw global attention to the need for improved safety for children and youths.

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