with (Asst Corps Marshal)
Zonal Commanding Officer
Zone RS7 Abua
FRSC TOLL FREE NO 122
Sometime in 2014, I wrote a touchy piece I tilted, BIDEMI AND THE FRSC ANNUAL LECTURE. The piece was about a cute beautiful, young and promising lady whose life according information gathered was like a script made in heaven and delivered through mother earth. The piece went thus; Bidemi (not her real name) was her name. Call her lucky or favored and you would not be far from the truth about her life. Hers was not just about beauty without brains as she equally had good education where she dusted all in her class with a First class degree. Life seemed smooth and easy for her. Even after graduating and completing her compulsory National Youth Service Corps, destiny sorted her out among her peers as she didn’t have to wait for long to be engaged as a staff in a thriving and promising business outlet.
Like every young girl her age, she met her dream man and got pregnant. Both agreed to live their dreams and fantasy. They met their families and set a wedding date to consummate her lifelong dream of becoming a mother and a wife.Tragedy however struck barely few months to the set day. Bidemi, whose beauty shone the more with the pregnancy, set out on a journey in a commercial vehicle. On the journey, a crash occurred, claiming her life and that of her unborn child, leaving behind a traumatized husband-to-be. As well as traumatized families. Bidemi was an only child whose parents had made sacrifices for, hoping for a better tomorrow. With her death, their dreams and aspirations died with her.
Bidemi’s story is one of the numerous tragedies on our roads. Daily, crashes occur, killing, maiming and leaving behind traumatized loved ones, families and sometimes children with no one to care for them. In the last months I have been touched by the spate of crashes and deaths involving students, religious groups, nollywood actors and youth corpers even though there have been near misses like the one involving nollywood actress Queen Wokoma who survived a crash that left her Honda Jeep totally wrecked. The most recent is the story of a corper simply identified as Hafy.Hafy details I couldn’t piece together except for what I could gather on the social media. But Safy story and tragedy is like a remake of Bidemi.They both share something similar. From the picture I saw of Safy, she is beautiful like Bidemi. And like Bidemi, she went to the University and graduated. While Bidemi served and get a good and promising job, Safy was still serving. And like Bidemi who though was expectant and awaiting the wedding day, Safy was also counting weeks or months to her wedding day;a dream date for any young girl.
Now, this is how the social media captured Safy tragedy. The report said that she was due to complete her service soon before getting married in just about three months time. All that dream of becoming a wife and a mother of children and maybe a grandmother fizzled like vapour as she met her untimely death in a fatal road traffic crash along the Abuja Kaduna expressway. The report was austere on the details of the crash and possible causative factors behind the crash. In our typical religious way, messages of condolence and prayers followed; the most touching being the one that said, ‘so sad,RIP,I reject premature death and near successes syndrome in Jesus name. Others merely described her death as sad and tragic. I share the pain of her traumatized fiancé and family. I can never imagine the anguish they must be going through right now. Nothing except God Almighty can truly console and comfort them.
While they are hurting and rhetorically asking why, my concern is how to ensure that the road we travel, the patient road does not end the dream of another Safy or Bidemi.The question would be for us to know when the trip took off as most of us have the penchant to travel late trusting that the blood of Jesus will luminate the roads and grant us save journey without cautioning ourselves against the danger of late travels. What speed was the driver doing? I know that behind every fatality on the road is the speed factor which explains why the Federal Road Safety Corps is today screaming that come October 1,2016 all commercial vehicles must install a speed limiter to curtain crashes and fatalites. We are however cautioned and told that excessive speed kills. Research has it that an increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash. So if you love life, you should at every time keep to the speed limit of 100km/h which is the maximum speed on the expressway for private cars and 90km/h for taxis and buses. The same applies to driving within build up areas such as schools,markets,commercial and busy areas; the speed limit here is further reduced to between 20-50km/h .You must at every time be guided by this rules and not by the supposed programmed events for the day. Some other facts on speed states that pedestrians have a greater chance of surviving a car crash at 30 km/h or below.30 km/h. speed zones can reduce the risk of a crash and are recommended in areas where vulnerable road users are common such as residential areas and around schools .
Where was she sitted in the vehicle? Was she belted? Where other occupants belted too Truth is that seat belts save lives. It can’t be put simpler than that. Seat belts have been adjudged to be the most effective traffic safety device for the prevention of death and injury in the event of crash.
Wearing a seat belt can reduce risk of crash injuries by fifty percent according to the Global National Safety Council. For those who insist that the use of seat belt is not an issue that merit the kind of attention being given to it by the FRSC, for those who believe that it is another money spinning venture for FRSC, for those who believe that we are making much about nothing, it is hoped that as we navigate through this year’s Ember months that we would all ponder on the choices we make when we travel and the attitudes we exhibit on the road .