The Lagos State Government has appealed to the Special Road Marshals to complement the efforts of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in reducing accidents.
The Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, made the call during the annual sectoral workshop for Lagos State FRSC Sector Command in on Tuesday.
The theme of the sectoral workshop was “Volunteerism Beyond Ember Months: The Role of Special Marshals in Combination”.
According to Hamzat, represented by the Pemanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr Kamal Olowoshagon, FRSC recorded 21,736 accidents in three years
The deputy governor said that statistics revealed that road traffic accident in Nigeria was a serious and growing problem, with absolute fatality rate and casualty figures rising rapidly.
“For instance, a total of 5,181 Nigerians lost their lives in road traffic crashes in 2018 according to the FRSC data.
“In 2019, road transport data by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistic shows that 11,072 road crashes occurred in 2019. Similarly, a total of 5,483 Nigerians got killed in road traffic crashes recorded in 2021.
“Through some of the statistics, it was observed that the rate of accidents in Nigeria makes us to be ranked among the highest in the world.
“Unfortunately, some of these accidents are preventable and can be avoided if many of our drivers, particularly the commercial drivers, take to traffic rule and regulations.
“They should be warned to avoid over-speeding, overloading and driving at nights, hence drivers need to be more educated to embrace all the safety tips to ensure sanity on the roads,” he said.
Hamzat said that road accidents are global phenomenon which had been of concern to the United Nations and the World Health Organisation.
He said there was no doubt that the state would continue to attract articulated vehicles due to its prime socio-economic status in the country.
”The state alone has close to 22 industrial estates, 60 per cent of industrial and commercial ventures and 70 per cent of national maritime cargoes which consume about 50 per cent petroleum products in the country.
”As a result of commercial activities, the state has continued to lead in the vanguard of advocacy in the areas of training and retraining of drivers,” he said.
The deputy governor said that the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and Lagos State Drivers Institute were places where drivers could be trained.
He noted that FRSC occupied a pivotal position in Road Traffic Administration and Safety Management in Nigeria, adding that the corps had evolved over the years as an institution of reference across the sub-region and beyond.
Mr Aliyu Datsama, FRSC Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM), Special Duties and External Relations, pointed out the responsibility of Special Marshals, saying that safety culture goes beyond ember months.
Datsama urged Special Marshals not to relent in their volunteering efforts.
Also, Peter Kibo, Assist. Corps Marshal, Zonal Commanding Officer, Road Safety 2, said that duties of the Special Marshals were satisfactory in the state and urged them not to relent in their efforts.
Kibo appealed to special marshal to increase traffic control enlightenment after the ember months and also seek collaboration to help the service achieve its aims and objectives.
Also, Lagos State FRSC Sector Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide, called for further collaboration between regular road safety corps and the special marshals to boost their morale in reducing crashes to zero per cent in Lagos.
“In Lagos, from January to August this year, we have lost 101 people to road crash and it is not a good record.
“We believe that with more volunteers from the special marshals to complement the effort of regulars, we will be able to achieve more reduction in road crashes in Lagos State.
“The Special Marshals should always follow FRSC policies because there is need to reduce the antecedent of articulated vehicles from loading that is why the agency introduced Safe to Load.
“If you are not safe, the vehicle will not leave the various terminal, FRSC have officers in all the tank farms insisting on safety standards before loading,” Ogungbemide said.
He said that the safe to load policy had been helping in reducing crashes involving articulated trucks/
In his contribution, Dr John Ugbebor, National Coordinator, Special Marshal. Abuja, urged the special marshals not to compromise their integrity for selfish reasons.
Ugbebor said that Nigeria remained a developing countries but with the commitment of the special marshals it would go a long way in reducing crashes