[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has agreed to partner with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in its activities towards ensuring safer road environment in the country.
The Sultan of Sokoto, who is also the President of the NSCIA, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III stated this while welcoming the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi to the General Meeting/National Executive Council meeting of the NSCIA where he was invited to make a presentation on road safety in Nigeria.
At the event which was held over the weekend at Maguero College, Benin-city, Edo state, the Sultan commended the FRSC for its commitment to road safety campaigns, saying with support from relevant stakeholders, the nation’s roads could become safe for all. He further stated that the Council decided to extend the invitation to the FRSC to make a presentation on road safety in view of the need for members of the public, particularly the Muslims in the country to take issues of road safety serious.
The Sultan warned against recklessness and impunity on the part of those that operate vehicles without considering their safety and those of other road users, stressing that such behaviours are against the dictates of Islam which enjoins Muslims to avoid acts that could endanger their lives. He called on Muslims to recognise the need to be safety conscious at all times by obeying traffic rules and regulations and extending support to those that ensure safety and security of all the citizens.
In his presentation entitled, “Advancing Road Safety in Nigeria through Islamic Leadership,” the Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi noted that religion is central to the quest for protection and preservation of lives of the citizenry towards ensuing stability in the society. According to him, the influence of religious leadership on man is so enormous that generality of the society is a function of its religiosity. “Therefore, the impact of religious leadership on followership through education is key to solving most national issues,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal reviewed the causes of road traffic crashes at the global levels and crash trends in Nigeria from 1960 to 2015, concluding that a total of one million, one hundred and fifteen thousand, six hundred and eight three (1, 115, 683) road traffic crashes were recorded within the period. Of these, he said, three hundred and seventy thousand, nine hundred and forty five people (370, 945 were killed, while one million, one hundred and fifty three thousand, seven hundred and forty seven (1,153,745) were injured.
Oyeyemi traced the economic effects of road traffic crashes on the nation, noting that the consequences have been grievous, saying 3 percent of the nation’s GDP totalling one hundred and thirty one billion, eight hundred and seventeen million, six hundred and seventeen million, six hundred and seventy thousand and eighty US Dollars ($131,817,676,080) have been lost to road traffic crashes alone. He further noted that most victims of road traffic crashes fall within the age bracket of 15-41 who constitutes the active productive force of the nation’s population. “The worst hit is the family, resulting in untold hardship and grief. Consequently, children suffer setbacks in education, training, welfare and care,” he stated.
Observing that over 82 percent of all road crashes which occurred in the country are caused by human factor, the Corps Marshal stressed that if the human factor can be properly addressed, the nation could be on the path to ensuing safety on its roads. He therefore called on the Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs to join hands with the FRSC to create public awareness on road safety, saying such partnership is in line with the Quarnic injunctions and the sayings of the Prophet.
Quoting directly from the Holy Quran, Oyeyemi noted that the Holy Quran is emphatic on the sanctity of human lives, as it stated clearly in Quran Chapter 5: 53 that whoever takes a soul, except as prescribed by the Almighty God is seen as if he has killed all mankind. The Corps Marshal therefore, solicited the support of the NSCIA to use its influence among members of the Islamic community to propagate road safety education in the country through teaching and preaching on safe road use to children of Islamic schools.
He particularly called on the Council to propagate against speeding and drunk-driving, maintaining that the offences have been identified as the major causes of road carnage in the country. He frowned at the attitude of those that take law into their hands by assaulting Marshals on duty and sometimes vandalizing the Corps’ facilities including vehicles and offices. He also sought the assistance of the NSCIA in the area of persuading Muslims to always use their helmets while on a motorbike either as rider or passenger and to ensure that they use the correct types of tyres on their vehicles.
Oyeyemi enjoined the leadership of the NSCIA to encourage its members to observe tolerance for other road users and use the period of Jumma’t prayers every Friday to spread the message of road safety as well as dedicating a day or week for delivering sermons on road safety at the various Mosques across towns, cities and communities in the collective campaign for the success of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2011-2020.
The Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole who declared the meeting opened, thanked the NSCIA for choosing the state as the host of the important meeting. He commended the leadership of the NACIA for preaching religious tolerance and assured that the Edo state government will continue to promote the ideals of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence in all its activities.
Among those that attended the Executive meeting were the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Secretary General of the NSCIA, Professor Is-ahq Oloyede and other notable religious and traditional rulers from across the country.
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