- Â NUPENG wants emergency declaration on roads
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed yesterday that over-speeding by motorists remains the highest cause of road crashes across the country, contrary to overwhelming belief that the poor state of the roads is the major culprit.
The minister stated that while poor state of the roads account for less than 10 per cent of accidents, more than 75 per cent of recorded accidents were fallouts of over-speeding by motorists.
Delivering a keynote address at the fourth quadrennial delegatesâ€™ conference of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), in Abuja, Fashola noted that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) regularly avails him of statistics on road accidents.
According to him, contrary to the erroneous belief that bad roads are responsible for the highest number of road crashes, over-speeding by motorists is to blame for the mishaps.
The minister pointed out that besides over-speeding, other factors, including breach of traffic rules have been responsible for road accidents in the country.
While admitting that the about 10 per cent of accidents arising from poor state of the roads was bad enough, the minister noted that a lot of lives would be saved if motorists adhere to traffic rules and avoid over-speeding.
In his address captioned â€œRoads in Nigeria and the Impact of Petroleum Products Distribution,â€ Fashola noted that the contributions of tanker drivers to the economy cannot be discountenanced.
His ministry, he said, had identified six priority areas in its road development agenda, including the ones that connect agricultural produce areas, those that lead to petroleum tank farms and depots, and comprehensive bridge repair programme, among others.
To underscore the current administrationâ€™s seriousness to deliver better roads across the country, Fashola stated that over N300 billion had been committed to roads, noting that a paltry N18 billion was budgeted for roads nationwide in 2014 by the last administration.
He disclosed that no state of the federation was left out in the roads development programme of the present government, putting the number of roads currently under construction nationwide at over 300, even as he stated that contractors had gone back to site on major road projects across the country.
The minister revealed that his ministry was on the verge of getting procurement for the reconstruction of the Apapa-Mile 2-Wharf road.
Admonishing tanker drivers to ensure safety on the roads by eschewing unhealthy traffic behaviours, including taking those things that â€˜clear their eyesâ€™, the minister assured that his ministry was desirous of bequeathing better road network across the country.
In his speech, the National President of NUPENG, Williams Akporeha noted that although the current administration has been working hard to properly fix the highways, a lot still needed to be done.
He said: â€œIn the light of this, we earnestly call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads so as to attract urgent attention, as no economy thrives without good roads and effective transportation system.â€
Akporeha pointed out that the theme of the conference was very apt and topical, adding: â€œAs you already know, road is one of the major working conditions for every tanker driver. An average petroleum tanker driver, who is actively on the wheel, spends most parts of his working life on the road traversing from one loading location to several discharging locations, all to get the economy going.
â€œHis safety, health, prosperity, promotion, effectiveness and even life expectancy depend almost entirely on the state of road infrastructure,â€ the NUPENG president said.