Friday, 25 August 2017

UN hopes Nigeria leads in road safety matters

The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, on Friday expressed the hope that Nigeria would be the leader in Africa in addressing road safety matters.

He said this after he led a delegation of the UN and ECOWAS road safety executives and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on a courtesy visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Todt told State House Correspondents that road safety was one of the scourges of society as 1.3 million people died on the road every year with 50 million people injured.

The Envoy said that Africa was the most vulnerable part of the world in terms of road crashes but noted that Nigeria had a great initiative by establishing the FRSC which was doing “an absolutely admirable work”.

The UN envoy noted that in spite of the efforts of FRSC many people were dying on Nigerian roads.

“But, nevertheless, too many people are dying on your roads and the Vice President had a very good understanding and he committed to help the programme.

“But it can only work if every citizen gets involved in that, not only the government or the police but of course the media have important role to play to communicate.

“It is around education, law enforcement, road infrastructure, vehicles, post-crash care,’’ he explained.

Todt said the people were being encouraged to help ensure that road users would use the safety belt, helmets and avoid speeding or drinking and driving.

According to him, if all the elements are enforced we will be able to see much less victims on the roads.

The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, added that the issue of infrastructure to monitor road users was within the purview of the states and local governments rather than the FRSC.

He, however, said FRSC had provided necessary advisory to the appropriate agencies in that regard.

“The key issue is enforcement, education, and data management for us to have a good review and monitoring indices.

“It will show how far we are going and also the need to narrow the gap in data management between the Nigerian data and WHO, which is critical,’’ he explained.

Oyeyemi stated that the lecture series done by the corps on Thursday had provided insights to what was expected to be done to improve on the level of enforcement.

He said FRSC had commenced enforcement on the use of seat belts, making phone calls while driving, traffic light violation and other key areas.

He gave the assurance that with the commitment of the federal government to road safety, there would be a lot of improvements before the end of this year.

“The UN has promised to assist Nigeria towards improving on all the areas and I hope that at the end of the day Nigeria will be a model,’’ he said.

The Corps Marshall explained that the World Bank had already adjudged the country as a model adding that with the UN’s intervention in view the country would be proud of the entire process.

He said the FRSC would continue to consolidate on the achievements to sustain the enforcement and other areas with low indices to enable it to do what was expected.

He noted that the conventions which were yet to be domesticated were a matter of urgency adding that FRSC would in the coming week do something about road signs and signals which were critical issues in road safety.