Category Archives: FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY CORPS
Statements, Actions and Achievements of FRSC
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) cordially invites stakeholders in Road Safety and the general public to its 3rd Annual Lecture Series 2011, holding at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, on Wednesday, 16 November, at 10.00am.
The theme of the event is “Achieving the Decade of Action on Road Safety 2011 – 2020” and the topic of the lecture is “Integrating Road Safety into National Development”. The Guest Lecturer is Professor Richard Tay, PEng, CPEng, Chair in Road Safety, Professor in Transportation Engineering and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Arc. Namadi Sambo, GCON, is expected as Special Guest of Honour, while the event will hold under the distinguished chairmanship of Chief Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, Deputy President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On 11 November, 14 people died in a motor accident at Wanzamai Village on the Gusau-Zaria road in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Local sources said the accident, involving a Peugeot J5 bus and a Volkswagen Golf car, occurred at about 9 p.m. The two vehicles collided on a narrow bend close to Wanzamai Village, on the boundary between Zamfara and Katsina States. The bus caught fire instantly and many of the passengers on board were burnt beyond recognition.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Sector Commander in Zamfara State, Mr Cheche Orji, said apart from those confirmed dead, 13 others who were injured had been admitted at the General Hospital in Tsafe. Orji said the accident might have been caused by wrong overtaking and expressed the fear that the casualty figure could rise, given the critical conditions of some of the victims that were rushed to hospital. He pleaded with motorists to always drive with great care and to abide by traffic rules and regulations.
On 31 August, seven members of the same family were killed in a road crash which occurred near Bodinga town in Sokoto State. The patriarch of the family, Alhaji Jekada Sifawa, a popular Sokoto-based electronics dealer, was performing the lesser hajj (Umrah) in Saudi Arabia when the accident occurred.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accident involved a Toyota Sienna mini van which had 15 members of the family on board. The van was travelling from Sokoto, the state capital, to Sifawa in Bodinga Local Government Area. The report said the teenage driver was taking a call on his cell phone when he lost control of the vehicle. The van veered off the road, hit and uprooted the tree, but was cut into two as a result of the force with which it hit the tree. Six persons died on the spot.
The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Sokoto State, Alhaji Bawa Datsama, said the victims included three males and three females. The females included one of the businessman’s wives, a one-year-old girl and a teenager. Another teenage girl later died at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, bringing the total number of those that died to seven.
Datsama said the driver escaped unhurt. He added that the other seven persons on the van, who were injured, were responding to treatment at the Hospital
NAN reports that all the dead had been buried in Sifawa town on 31 August and 1 September.
On 31 August, Alhaji Saidu Shettima Pindar, Nigeria’s pioneer Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe, died a car accident. The accident occurred on the Kaduna-Zaria road in Kaduna State.
Details of the accident are yet to be confirmed, but sources said he was traveling to Kano at the time he died. One source said the accident was caused by the bad condition of some spots on the road, but this too, had not been verified.
Ambassador Pindar was born in Biu, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, on 19 August 1954. He obtained an Electrical Engineering Diploma from Kaduna Polytechnic in 1976, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1980, and subsequently a Master’s Degree in Communication Engineering from the University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in United Kingdom.
He started his working life with the Borno State Civil Service, rising to become the Director of Engineering/Chief Engineer at the Borno Radio and Television (BRTV) before transferring to the Federal Civil Service in 1987.
In October 1998, he was posted to the Embassy of Nigeria, Rome, Italy, as Minister-Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary. While on that post, he received commendations from the Italian Ministry of Interior, the Italian Immigration and Frontier Service and a Christian NGO for his commitment towards combating human trafficking and for his compassionate treatment of trafficked Nigerians.
In 2000, he was appointed Nigeria’s pioneer Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe. At that post, he was credited with contributing immensely to the ratification of the Treaty establishing the Nigeria-Sao Tome & Principe Joint Development Zone (JDZ). He voluntarily retired from the Federal Civil Service after 32 years of public service. In 2004, he was conferred with a National Honour, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
Even in retirement, he remained active in private business as well as in political and public life. He was the founder and promoter of Maitama Amusement Park, a leisure and entertainment centre situated in the high brow Maitama district of Abuja. He was also the Executive Chairman of Subotech Engineering Ltd, a company supplying and installing broadcast equipment nationwide.
Politically, he was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In October 2009, he was appointed by then President Umaru Yar’Adua, into the board of the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (NSTP-JDA). He was later the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State in the April 2011 general elections, but his party did not win.
Ambassador Pindar was a member of several professional bodies, including the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
He was a founding member of the Biu Emirate Development Association (BEDA) and also the Biu Forum. In recognition of his contributions to the development of Biu Emirate, HRH Alhaji Umar Mustapha Aliyu, the Emir of Biu elevated him from the position of Jarma of Biu to Waziri of Biu in January 2005.
A philanthropist, he sponsored hundreds of students in various schools in Borno, Yobe and Bauchi State under the Shettima Pindar Foundation.
He was happily married and blessed with children.
In a condolence message to the late ambassador’s family, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima expressed shock over the unfortunate incident. He described the late Pindar as a visionary, humble and de-tribalized man, who dedicated his life to the cause of transforming not only Borno State, but the Nigerian nation.
Local sources report that the crash, which involved two Abuja-bound buses and a trailer, occurred around 7.45pm on Kilometre 14 of the Akure-Owo Road, near the Possibility Church in Ogbese town.
Briefing newsmen in Akure, the Police spokesman for the state, Mr Adeniran Aremu, said the crash occurred late on Monday. He said the two buses were on high speed, and that as one of them attempted to overtake the other, it rammed into a trailer marked XN769ABC, which was also coming at considerable speed from Owo.
He said the bus and the trailer went up in flames instantly. Efforts by the Police and other road users to put out the fire and save those trapped in the vehicles were apparently too feeble and ultimately futile. All passengers on the bus that directly rammed into the trailer were burnt to death, beyond recognition. Those in the other bus (marked XZ 976 AKD), though not burnt, also all died on the spot, after their bus crashed into the bush. The police spokesman said all the corpses had been taken to the mortuary at the Specialist hospital in Akure.
However, while Mr Aremu had reported 30 persons killed in the crash, the Sector Commander of the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. John Meheux, said the report he received indicated 34 persons dead. He said the casualties comprised 14 persons in the bus that collided with the trailer, two persons in the trailer, and 18 persons in the bus that crashed into the bush. He said three persons in the second bus survived with injuries.
A local source said the discrepancy in casualty figures may have arisen from the fact that some of the corpes in the first bus were incinerated almost completely, and therefore barely recognizable as human bodies. On why the bus drivers were speeding so recklessly, he said they may have been rushing to make the most of the large number of passengers at commercial vehicle parks, seeking to travel for the Eid-El-Fitri celebrations. The source added that there was now a need for closer monitoring of speeding on highways, and much higher penalties against over-speeding drivers.
On 2 August, at least 14 of the passengers on a luxury bus that was travelling through the night, from a southern city to Abuja, were crushed to death at Zariagi town on the Okene-Abuja highway. The incident occurred around 5a.m.
The bus, operated by a popular transport company (name withheld) and marked XL 300 ABC, had been stopped by armed robbers who had blocked the highway in the dark night. The robbers ordered everyone on the bus to disembark and lie face down on the road.
As the robbers were searching them and dispossessing them of their valuables (including cash and mobile phones), a truck and another luxury bus, which were also heading towards Abuja, pulled up to the road block. Realizing that the men on the road were robbers not policemen, they tried to swerve through the roadside, unaware that the passengers from the earlier bus were all lying face down in the darkness. In the process, they ran over the robbery victims, killing 14 of them. One of the victims was a small child.
The bodies of the victims were said to have been so mangled that it was difficult to identify or reassemble some of them. However, eight bodies were deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja, while six others were taken to the Lokoja Specialist Hospital.
The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Kogi State, Mr Sunday Maku, confirmed the casualty figure to newsmen. The Public Relations Officer of the Kogi State Police Command, Mr Ajayi Okesanmi said the the police was trying to track down the criminals who caused the accident. Meanwhile, the driver of the bus that ran over the unfortunate victims had been taken into police custody.
On 29 July, a group, Arrive Alive Road Safety Initiative, reported that over 12,000 people die in Nigeria every year, as a result of accidents related to motorcycle taxis, popularly known as Okada. That figure translates to about 33 people killed every day!
Speaking at a road safety campaign programme in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the Coordinator of the group, Mr. Ike Okonkwo, disclosed that about 30,000 people are also seriously injured by such accidents annually, many of them left with permanent disabilities. He added that over 70,000 families and dependents are also indirectly affected by the accidents annually.
The campaign programme, organized under the theme: “Truck/Motorcycle Safety: A Time for Action”, was intended to sensitise all road users and stakeholders on the need to be cautious and more responsible in their use of roads. Sponsored by Chevron Nigerian Limited in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), it also included the presentation of over 1,000 safety helmets and other safety devices to commercial motorcyclists and motorists.
Urging commercial motorcycle operators to always wear safety helmets, Okonkwo said: “The helmets do not prevent accidents but help protect the Okada riders and passengers from sustaining head injuries that could lead to death”. One road safety consultant said several studies of brain injuries resulting from road accidents suggest that use of helmets could reduce such injuries by up to 85 per cent.
On 28 July, about six people were feared dead, with scores of buildings and automobiles razed, after a fuel-laden tanker caught fire and exploded at a roundabout near the popular Ogbete Market in Enugu, capital of Enugu State. The Ogbete market is the largest market in the city.
Mr. Sikiru Raimi, Commandant, Enugu State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said the incident occurred when the tanker loaded with diesel lost control while negotiating the roundabout. Witnesses said the crash was followed by leakage of fuel from the tanker, operated by the Port Harcourt-based Shorelink Oil and Gas Services Company.
They said as the leaked fuel flowed into the barracks of the Enugu Central Police Station and some parts of the Ogbete market, the tanker driver raised alarm and ran to the police station to seek for help; one source said there was no immediate response, apparently as the police had no fire-prevention equipment. A short while later, the tanker exploded and went up in huge flames.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Steven Ekpei, confirmed three people dead. But local residents and witnesses said apart from the three charred bodies recovered initially, the toll may be up to six. Over 20 buildings, housing officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Prisons Service, were burnt. About 10 cars and several motorcycles were also in ruins. As the fire also destroyed poles and cables of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the company’s Principal Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Eseme Udo, said some facilities, including the Enugu Prisons, may run without electricity for some time.
Witnesses say personnel from the Enugu Fire Service, and their colleagues from other agencies like the NSCDC and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), rallied to save the market and the police station from ruin. But they said fire-fighting vehicles could not get to some of the burning buildings as structures constructed without approvals blocked access routes. Some fire-fighters, injured while battling the inferno, were later rushed to Parklane Hospital.
Addressing reporters shortly after inspecting the scene of the accident, the Deputy Governor, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi, said the state government would do everything possible to minimise the damage from such accidents in future. He said as a first step, Governor Sullivan Chime had ordered the demolition and clearance of all illegal structures in the city, within the next two weeks.
He praised the Fire Service and other emergency agencies for their quick response to the incident and pledged the state government’s assistance to alleviate the suffering of the victims.
On 25 July, five people were killed while eight others were seriously injured in an accident involving an 18-seater commercial bus and a trailer on the River Kaduna bridge, in Kaduna State.
Local sources said the commercial bus marked AE 262 DKA, was coming from Central Market and heading to Unguwar Romi in the southern part of the state. With 13 persons on board including the driver, the bus ran into the trailer which had broken down on the fast lane of the bridge, at around 9.30 pm. Witnesses say the bus was crushed under the trailer, killing four of the occupants instantly, while one more died later.
Personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reportedly swung into action immediately they were informed of the accident, rescuing survivors from the wreckage and rushing them to Saint Gerard Hospital in Kauri. They also took the corpses of the dead to the same hospital.
The Sector Commander of the FRSC’s Kaduna Sector Command, Mr. Harrison Pepple, blamed the accident on over-speeding by the bus driver. He said: “The driver was over-speeding and that was why he rammed into the trailer. There is urgent need for attitudinal change among road users in the country to avoid accidents”. Pepple added that: “Whenever a vehicle breaks down, the driver must report to us or police in order to evacuate it”.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Superintendent Route Commander Yunusa Ibrahim, added that the bus driver was not only on high speed, but may also have been under high influence of either drugs or alcohol, for him not to have seen the stationary trailer on the speed lane.
However, other sources further report that the bus was probably not roadworthy in the first place. They said it had failed to start on its own at the Central Market, until passengers pushed it to life. It also reportedly had no headlight, making it impossible for the driver to see into the darkness ahead, and thus avoid the broken-down trailer.