[dropcap]U[/dropcap]nited Nations (UN) has rated Nigeria as one of the world’s leading countries with robust road safety strategic agenda. The UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, made the declaration on Thursday, during this year’s FRSC annual lecture series held at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In his lecture titled, “Achieving the Goals of the UN Decade of Action For Road Safety in Africa,” Mr Todt, who was a guest speaker at the event, stated that in his past meetings with Presidents of other African countries, one of the issues that had continued to top his discussions with them was the need for them to promote issues of road safety in their countries.
This he said was because of the debilitating effects of road traffic crashes on the social and economic wellbeing of the people of the African continent.
He however expressed happiness that Nigeria is not only operating a road safety lead agency, but has been at the forefront of campaigns for safer road environment within the West African sub-region and African continent at large.
The UN Envoy described the situation of road traffic crashes in Africa as very disturbing and called on governments of the region to devote more resources in tackling the menace and other nations around the world to emulate the Nigeria’s example.
“If Nigeria could sustain its commitment to road safety through increased investment in the campaign,” Mr Todt stressed, “the country stands the chance of attaining the target set by the United Nations in its Decade of Action of Action For Road Safety: 2011-2020.
“Nigeria is doing well in road safety agenda in Africa, and it should sustain its investment for the effects to become manifest.”
Speaking on the importance of road transportation in Nigeria, the UN Envoy declared that for a nation whose citizens depend largely on road for their transportation needs, the only way to contain the menace of road traffic crashes was for the government to invest adequately in road safety, adding that the nation must do more to move road safety agenda forward through various means including legislation and public awareness creation.
In his welcome presentation, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi expressed worry at the rate at which road traffic crashes affect the social and economic wellbeing of the people of the country, as according to him road transportation remains the most dominant mode of transportation in the country. The Corps
Marshal disclosed that in the determination of the FRSC to tackle the menace of road traffic crashes in the country, FRSC took the strategic decision to key into the Accra declaration of 2007-2015 and the African Road Safety Charter, 2011-2020 all of which aligned with the national development agenda of Vision 20:2020. The goals of these declarations he said, were to assist in combating the road safety challenges of the country and the African continent at large. These include development of safe system approach, activities and multi-sectoral involvement and an all inclusive approach.
Oyeyemi pointed at the adoption of the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy Document 2014-2018 which aimed at achieving 35% fatality reduction as one of the strategic outcomes of government interventions in matters of road safety in the country. He commended the Federal Government for sustaining its support for the FRSC, saying the investment in road safety by the government has yielded positive result as evidenced by the reduction of the rate of death which was 16,382 in 1982 but down to about 5,053 in 2016. The FRSC Boss expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the FRSC’s adoption of Safe System Approach, saying it led to reduction of Nigeria’s fatality rate to about 6,0000 death per annum.
The Corps Marshal further stated that FRSC will continue to make efforts that could result in improvement in its crash data capturing mechanism and analysis while the nation strives to meet the target of crash without death. “Sustaining the safe system approach will set Nigeria among the top of the 20 safest nations in the world by 2020,” he stressed.
PIX 3: Representative of Vice President, Suleiman Hassan Hon Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Ag. SGF Dr. Habibat Lawal, Pioneer Chairman of FRSC, Prof. Wole Soyinka and The Corps Marshal, FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi at an exhibition stand during 7th Annual Lecture Series on 24th August, 2017