By Kasim Sumaina
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that it responded to 53 road crashes in December 2020.
The agency, in collaboration with stakeholders, responded to the emergencies across the zonal territorial and operation offices (ZTOs) covering 84 routes.
Out of these numbers, 12 fatalities and 88 injuries were recorded, stating that the unfortunate incidents on major highways once again bring to the fore the need for road users to be careful at all times and adhere to all safety measures.
The Director General, NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd), in his keynote address at the After Action Review of 2020 ‘Operation Eagle Eye’ with the theme: ‘Towards an Emergency Free Yuletide’ in Abuja, hinted that the operation is a global initiative and a flagship product of the agency targeted at enlightening road users on the rules and regulations guiding road usage.
He added that the desire to prevent road crashes and ensure prompt intervention on the highways led to the flag-off in the FCT and other states of the federation simultaneously in December, 2020.
He said: “There is the need therefore to evaluate the overall conduct of the operation with a view to proffering solutions to identified shortcomings.”
The NEMA boss revealed that the agency deployed 48 specialised vehicles including the Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance, 431 personnel and volunteers for the operation nationwide.
“The operation as usual provided an avenue for NEMA to complement the FRSC in minimising road traffic crashes, loss of lives as well as other challenges related to road usage,” he said.
Muhammed noted that Nigeria has the largest road network in West Africa and the second largest south of the Sahara, with more than 108,000km of surfaced roads used for the movement of people and goods.
He stated that unfortunately, the poor state of the roads and infrastructure, high traffic and wrong usage have led to increased road crashes with consequent fatalities and injury.
“It is in this light that NEMA provided support to the lead agency, FRSC, in coordination with other stakeholders at the last year yuletide season covering the period of 18 December, 2020 to 4 January, 2021,” Muhammed said.
Similarly, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Opeyemi, said about 180 fatalities were recorded in “Operation Eagle Eye” between December 15, 2020 and January 15, 2021, which caused the death of about 500 passengers nationwide.
Opeyemi, represented by the Assistant Corps Marshal Hyginus Omeje, noted that speed and overloading were the major causes of the crashes, adding that the FRSC is working on tackling the issue.