Rights Group Blisters FRSC, VIO for Increase in Road Accidents, Being Commercially Focused
By Ed Malik, A | January 30, 2023

Worried by the increasing deaths arising from road traffic collisions in Nigeria, the civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Monday, slammed the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Vehicle Inspection Offices, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, and other state-related traffic management agencies for being commercially focused instead of sticking their statutory social responsibility, which is, to approve the worthiness of all vehicles on the nation’s roads,

This mandate empowers the FRSC and other Traffic agencies to monitor and specially checkmate the excesses of articulated heavy-duty automobiles and other container-laden trucks that have for years been a menace around major economically important roads such as Lagos–Ibadan, East-West Road, Apapa link roads, Kano–Kaduna–Abuja, Second Niger Bridge, and Port Harcourt–Aba.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the agencies in charge of vehicle inspection and driving licensing in Nigeria have been so compromised that they are infested with massive corruption as thousands of unqualified and incompetent drivers are being issued licenses by bribing their way through the system, causing road accidents subsequently.

The group said the untimely deaths of nine passengers who were killed by a truck when it fell its container on a mini-bus in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos was totally avoidable if the authorities did their job well. In a related incident, 11 other persons were killed at the Soka bridge on the Lagos-Benin Highway when a truck driving against traffic collided with another commercial bus.

The statistics of truck-related accidents are staggering and pathetic, especially in Nigeria. For instance, the World Economic Forum said road traffic collision is the eighth leading cause of death for all ages. While the National Bureau of Statistics reported that 41,709 persons died due to road traffic causes from 2013 to 2020 in Nigeria, the FRSC recorded 13,027 crashes nationwide in 2021.

The World Health Organization estimated 41,693 deaths on Nigerian roads, 2.82 per cent of the global total. A 2010 study said RTCs imposed an economic cost of N80 billion annually on Nigeria.

Yet, the authorities have failed to fix the roads, and restrict the movement of trucks in urban areas to the hours of 11pm and 5am.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Many years after the Federal Government set up the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian roads have become killing fields due to a combination of factors including the substandard roads infrastructure, collapses of roads network, failure of government authority to regulate vehicular movements with a view to maintaining standards.

“This is because both the Vehicle Inspection Offices and the FRSC are basically not committed to professionally enforcing laws that will keep citizens who are road users safe from all kinds of heavy-duty vehicles laden with containers and not properly articulated in such way that these containers won’t fall off.

“The rate of accidents in Nigeria is about the highest in Africa if not the highest in the world. The FRSC and the VIOs run by state and federal governments are commercially focused and don’t bother enforcing the law guiding standardization of vehicles plying the roads.

“States and the federal government must take action to stop the carnage on the highways, charge drivers of trucks laden with containers improperly with attempted murder so as to prevent this kind of deadly incident that happened in Lagos.

“The harvest of deaths from fallen trucks is enough! The number of disabilities resulting from these avoidable accidents is enough. According to WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Spain, amongst others are the top safest countries to drive in. Governments at all levels must put in place water-tight regulations like in these developed and advanced countries to achieve the kind of sanity and safety they have on their roads.

“Culprits – drivers and companies who own heavy-duty trucks but are found to have violated road laws that led to deaths should be decisively prosecuted without bias. This is the way to go. Offenses must be punished to serve as deterrence.”

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