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Radio Ndarason Internationale


8 December 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes

Drivers get stern warning to stick to the rules of the road to avoid the high number of crashes – some of which had proved fatal in previous years – during the busy month of December.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has warned motorists to stick to the rules of the road to avoid the high rate of accidents – many of them fatal – that often occur on Nigeria’s roads in December, which is a busy time with an increased volume of vehicles on the road.

In Borno State, as across most of the world, December is the time for Christians to celebrate Christmas. It’s also a favourite month for couples to get married, with their guests taking to the roads to attend the weddings. It’s also the end of term for schools and tertiary education facilities, making it a great time for families to take their yearly vacations.

The FRSC recorded a substantial reduction in road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities between January and September this year and it is hoping to accomplish the same this month, despite the large number of people on the roads.

Baba Isa Umar, a Borno Express chief bus driver, told RNI that there were usually many more drivers on the road in December.

“We, as Borno Express, have taken serious measures to ensure that road accidents are minimised during this time. All vehicles belonging to the company need to be in a good condition before they are allowed on to the roads. Every bus is checked to ensure that the tyres are not faulty. No bus with faulty tyres is allowed to leave the grounds.
“All drivers are told to keep to the speed limits. The maximum they can go at is 120km/h – but preferably they should stick to about 100km/h or less, if necessary. Overloading – of passengers or items – is not allowed.

“For the safety of our passengers, drivers are not allowed to fight with passengers. If a passenger is not willing to cooperate with the driver, or if he or she disturbs the peace of other passengers, the driver has been instructed to go to the nearest police station or security checkpoint to report the matter. In certain instances, the driver may turn around and drop the troublesome passenger back at his or her pickup point.”

Umar said buses were not the only vehicles that caused accidents.
“Owners of private cars can also be reckless drivers. They don’t always stick to the rules and often overtake at dangerous places and many speed by, paying no heed to the limit. In my opinion, the only way to avoid nasty accidents is for every driver to know the rules of the road and to adhere to these, particularly at this time of year, so that road crashes are minimised.”

Ahmadu Mohammed, a public relations officer at the FRSC, said that at year-end it was expected that the volume of traffic would increase.

He urged all drivers – commercial and private – to check that their vehicles were in good order and were well maintained.

“Drivers must not speed – rather get to your destination alive and late than not at all. Speeding has caused several accidents over the years. If a driver is over the limit and has to stop suddenly or slow down, he could cause a serious accident because the higher the speed, the less control you have over the vehicle.”

He also urged drivers and passengers to always wear their seatbelts.
“This is not because you might be caught by road officials, it is for your own safety especially in a crash. It may mean lesser injuries. Don’t overload vehicles with either people or items. Do not take drugs and drive. People suffering from insomnia and epilepsy, as well as those who are deaf, may not drive.”

Mohammed Sani, a passenger who often uses commercial drivers based at Tashan Kano Motor Park in Maiduguri, said: “Whenever I travel, I always use check to see that the car has been well maintained; I check the tyres, the speedometer and the number of passengers. I will not travel in a vehicle that is overloaded or overcrowded.”

Another frequent passenger, Baana Mustapha, told RNI that what he wanted was more security on the roads.
“The government should ensure that there are enough security operatives at every checkpoint. I travel to Kano State and that road is in a terrible state. It needs to be repaired – all I want is a safe road in good repair.”

Umar Bukar also brought up the issue of security.

“Last year people were not allowed to travel in or out of Maiduguri after 6pm. Now, because of tighter security measures, we can travel in and out of the city until 8pm, and the road has been repaired. Unfortunately, despite the improvement, we have come across insurgents who disguise themselves as security operatives by wearing security personnel uniforms. The government has to find a way to resolve this problem. Until then we will never be safe, in December or any other month.”

Bisi Kazeem, a FRSC assistant corps marshal and public education officer, said he was proud to announce that the organisation had recorded a substantial reduction in the total number of road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities between January and September. He said the corps had achieved a 22% reduction in road traffic crashes, a 21.3% decrease in road injuries and a 23.1% reduction in road traffic deaths, compared with last year.


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