Road Crashes Kill More People than Covid-19, Yet Receives Less Attention– Appeal Court President, Justice Dongban-Mensem
By Frank Ajufo
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello says the FCT will strengthen collaborations with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other stakeholders to address factors encouraging road crashes.
Bello made the pledge while speaking at the 10th anniversary of Kwapda’as Road Safety Demand (KRSD) Trust Fund conference and awards in Abuja.
The FCT Minister expressed regrets that humans have consistently been identified by various researches as the key culprit in road crashes.
Bello who applauded the role of the Foundation in providing education for road users, noted that the FCT Administration will further strengthen partnership with the FRSC and the Civil Society to aggressively educate road users on the dangers speed.
“My association with the Federal Road Safety Corps and this particular NGOand a few other organisations has made me realized that actually, it’s not good roads that prevent accidents. In most of the fora I go all the research tends to human factor.
“Even in cases where accident occur and immediate attention is needed it is still the human factor and I think that is something that we really need to work on as a people particularly which was not mentioned, is that fact that at scenes of accidents everybody rather than trying to provide the needed help, people are more concerned about that the number of pictures they are able to take and how fast they are able to upload and share to the wider public.”
President of the Appeal Court and Founder of KRSD, Justice Dongban-Mensem who recalled painfully her son’s death, pointed out that his story is still sadly repeated on Nigerian Roads every day and everyone alive has a duty to commit to stop road accidents and activities of hit-and-run drivers.
She appealed for continuous education of road users on the rules of good driving, regardless of how long such individual may have been a driver.
Justice Dongban-Mensem, lamented that road rashes kill more people daily when compared to COVID-19 that is attracting huge attention from both local and world leaders.
“Some people ignored my son on the road and stole his phone. If only somebody picked the phone and called the last dialed number, may be my son will have been saved, may be not.
“So the story is about us. My son is gone he will not come back, I wish he could. But it is about us, we Nigerians, fellow human beings. How are we relating? How are we helping each other? That’s the point.
“You knockdown somebody and you just drive away. Of course, you don’t want to be in trouble but you’ve left somebody in trouble, helpless.
“So our appeal is that we should care for one another. Our slogan is, dignify your life by saving a life. When your children are going out, plead with them to take care of themselves and other road users. Be mindful of what you are doing.
“When I watch television and see so much attention given to COVID-19, I just shake my head and say – I wish they know how many people are killed on road every day, yet less attention is paid to this challenge.”
In his address, former Corps Marshal and of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka who also chaired the activity, spoke on the need for shared responsibility, engineering to make the roads more forgiving, enforcement of penalties and synergy among stakeholders.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility, the Federal Government cannot manage road safety, they can only provide the framework for managing road safety. So, the FRSC is over stretched, they have a lot to do on our highways which is by the way another bloodbath area.
“We need engineering, we need to build roads that forgive. The concrete barriers on our roads are killers. Human beings are bound to make mistakes but our roads must forgive the mistakes. We have to build roads that constantly engage drivers, like in Sweden where straight roads are no longer built.
“Then the last one, we need enforcement. Every education without enforcement is entertainment. We must move from education to enforcement. And enforcement means that those who use our roads wrongly must pay a price for it.”
Nigerians will need to know that they gain very little time by beating speed limits, which is not worth losing their lives for, was the submission of the keynote speaker, Prof. Sydney Ibeanusi.
“It is observed that if you cut the average speed in Europe by 1KM per hour, up to 2000 lives can be saved over the year. So, if we are able to adopt that in the country, it means we have been able to meet the target that is set for 2030 even before the onset of the implementation.
“Now the risk of death or dying increases as the speed increases; at 30KM per hour, there is one per cent chance or less of dying.
“Practically, if you increase the speed of your travel by 20KM per hour, that is if you are travelling at 100KM per hour and you increase it to 120KM per hour because you want to get to Kaduna from Abuja quickly which is about 200KM. You only gain just about 18 to20 minutes. The question is, is it worth your life? If you are travelling from Abuja to Kano, you only gain just about 40 minutes. So it is actually not worth it.”
Kwapda’as Road Safety Demand (KRSD), was established in 2011 by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as a Trust Fund, in memory of her 32 years old son, Kwapda’as Rangnaan who was killed in Jos, by a hit-and-run driver.