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Federal Road Safety Corps organizes Third Annual Lecture in Abuja

OSITA CHIDOKA CEO/Chief Corps Marshal, 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.

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14 die, 13 injured in motor accident in Zamfara State

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.

TRAGIC: 14 killed as bus crushes robbery victims on Abuja-Okene road

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.

Over 12,000 killed in motorcycle accidents in Nigeria annually, Arrive Alive group reports

Motorcycle taxis: Killing 33 every day!

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.

Fire accident in Enugu: 6 feared dead, over 20 houses destroyed

Oil tanker fire (File photo).

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.

MANY CRUSHED TO DEATH IN MULTIPLE ACCIDENTS IN ABUJA

One of the buses crushed in the accident

On 18 July, at least 14 people died instantly, in two multiple road accidents along the Nyanya-Karu road, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Some unconfirmed reports say the casualties may have subsequently risen to over 30.

Local sources said in the first accident, which occurred around 2.15pm at Furniture Market, Kugbo, a trailer ran into a Toyota Corolla car, crushing its two occupants to death instantly.

Shortly after that, another trailer lost control around Mechanics Village, also in Kugbo, and ran into eight other vehicles, comprising three private cars, four commercial buses, and one taxi cab. Twelve people died on the spot. Ten others, suffering various degrees of injury, were rushed to hospitals in the Asokoro and Maitama districts.

Apart from those who died instantly, several others wounded are reported to have died as they were being rushed to hospitals or shortly after getting there. One source reports that the casualties may have exceeded 30, but this has not been confirmed.

Rescue workers from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the police rushed to the scene to help survivors and recover bodies from the wreckage of the many vehicles that were involved in the accident.

As the second accident drew large crowds of rescue workers and other onlookers, it caused a massive pile-up of traffic for several kilometres in both directions of the highway.

[THIS REPORT WILL BE UPDATED AS MORE INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE LATER TODAY].

MAJOR ROAD ACCIDENTS IN NIGERIA: JAN – JUNE 2011

1 February: 18 people die in an accident along Dutsin-ma-Kankara road in Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina State killed 18 persons leaving five others with serious wounds.

8 March: 13 persons died in a ghastly motor accident in Bakiyawa Village in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State. The accident involved a Mitsubishi Canter bus with 26 passengers and an articulated tipper lorry belonging to a construction firm.

8 March: 14 persons died in a fatal motor accident along the Benin-Ore road in Edo State. According to some local sources, the accident occurred when the driver of a commercial bus, in the course of overtaking a truck, ran into an on-coming trailer.

12 March: Six persons believed to be members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), died when their bus colided with a goods-laden truck,  in Oyo town. About 15 others were reportedly injured.

15 March: Seven people were killed when the motorcade of the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, got involved in an accident on Katsina-Daura Road. The governor was unhurt, but his Aide-de-Camp, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Aminu Ibrahim and eix others died.10 other persons sustained injuries.

19 March: About 18 people died, after an 18-seater commercial bus conveying passengers from the eastern part of the country to Lagos, plunged into the Ogbese River near Ugbogi Village, on the border area of Edo and Ondo States.

26 March: Two policemen died while four others suffered injuries, when a vehicle on the motorcade of the Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi had a ghastly accident as the team was heading to a campaign rally in Maradun, headquarters of Maradun Local Government Area of the state.

1 April:  About 30 people were killed in a fatal road accident at a check-point in Narabi village, on the Bauchi State stretch of the Jos-Bauchi highway. The driver of a fuel tanker reportedly lost control and ran into several vehicles awaiting security clearance, at a check-point manned by police and military personnel.

12 April: 18 people were confirmed dead in Sabon Wuse, along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, after an 18-seater bus travelling from Lagos to Kaduna crashed into a stationary trailer.

13 May:  At least 18 people died while 11 others sustained various injuries as two buses colided and caught fire instantly, near Potiskum in Yobe State.

23 May:  Alhaji Balarabe Musa, 34, who had just been elected to the House of Representatives at the 9 April polls, to represent Kumbotso constituency in Kano State, died in a car crash. The accident occurred on the Abuja–Kano highway, at a town called Tafa in Niger State.

27 May: 26 people were burnt to death in a huge inferno resulting from a motor accident in front of the popular Yaoland Fuel Station along the intra-city Iwo Road-Ojoo route in Ibadan, Oyo State.About 25 vehicles and other equipment worth several millions of naira also perished in the tragedy.

27 May:  Seven persons, including Alhaji Kolo Makama, senior special assistant on special duties/legal matters to the Niger State governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, died in a crash. along Bida road in Niger State. The accident occurred just about 48 hours to the governor’s inauguration for a second term.

1 June: 10 people were killed in a ghastly motor accident at Abukur village along Katsina-Kano road.

7 June: Seven students of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria,died when the commercial bus in which they were riding collided head-on with a petrol tanker.

8 June: 21 persons, including two pregnant women and seven toddlers, died in an auto crash at Ilara Mokin, near Akure, capital of Ondo State.

20 June:  28 people died when buses operated by two Enugu-based transport companies (Peace Mass Transit, PMT, and the Enugu State Transport Company, ENTRACO) collided on the Enugu-Nsukka Highway; four of the casualties were members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who were returning to their homes after the national service in one  of  the northern states.

20 June: At least 18 people, died in an accident on the Ibadan–Lagos Expressway, according to witnesses. However, FRSC officials later said seven people died.

24 June: Five candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) travelling from Yenagoa in Bayelsa State to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, died in an auto crash at the Ahoada axis of the East-East road in Rivers State.

30 persons, including 4 recent NYSC graduands, killed in road accident in Enugu State

On 20 June, 30 persons were killed as two commercial buses collided at Egede village on the Enugu -Nsukka Highway in Enugu State.

Twenty eight of the victims were passengers while the other two were the drivers of the two buses.

The identities of most of the casualties are not yet known as there is yet no official report from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

But offficers on the FRSC rescue team say that four National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificates have been found among the wreckage, suggesting that four of the casualties must have been among the most recent batch of graduands who passed out from the national service scheme last week.

Jonathan re-appoints Osita Chidoka as head of Federal Road Safety Corps

Mr OSITA CHIDOKA, Corps Marshall and CEO, FRSC

On 9 June, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reported that President Goodluck Jonathan has re-appointed  Mr Osita Chidoka as Corps Marshal and Chief Executive Officer of the agency for another 4-year term.

A statement by the Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Nseobong Akpabio, citing an approval letter from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the re-appointment is in line with Section 7 (1) of the Federal Road Safety Commission Establishment Act 2007.

It said the Corps Marshal’s re-appointment will enable the FRSC to consolidate on its drive towards safer road use in Nigeria, as it is the lead agency in the nation’s road traffic administration and safety management.

Early reactions to the re-appointment of Mr Chidoka’s re-appointment have been very strongly favourable. Several observers point to the fact that the present dispensation of the Corps has, within the last four years, made tremendous impact on the nation’s highways, achieving a 35 per cent reduction in road traffic accidents across the country.

Others draw attention to the fact that Chidoka’s team has been able to raise the stakes in road safety management by developing the FRSC into a more effective road safety organisation.

Also significant is its success in attracting global partnership towards improving road safety in Nigeria, particularly through the recent launch of the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety in the country. As one observer said: “In road safety management, as indeed in everything else in life, you don’t change a winning team”.

[See also on this site “PROFILE: Osita Chidoka: Corps Marshal and Chief Executive, Federal road Safety Corps”].

 

21 persons, including 2 pregnant women and 7 kids, killed in road accident in Ondo State

On 8 June, 21 persons including two pregnant women and seven toddlers died in an auto crash at Ilara Mokin, near Akure, capital of Ondo State.

Local sources said the accident occurred around 6.30am. Men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who evacuated the bodies, said the crash involved a commercially-operated Mazda bus marked XV 315 FST belonging to Obadigbo Local Government Council and heading towards Benue State, and a DAF Truck marked LAGOS XU 606 JJJ heading to Lagos.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Adeniran Aremu, confirmed that 19 persons died on the spot while nine others were rushed to the Specialist Hospital in Akure. Two of those rushed to the hospital died. Another victim ran away from the hospital after treatment and the hospital management has directed its security men to track him down.

According to Police authorities in the state, the driver of the truck also fled after the accident but his assistant (“conductor”) was arrested and is being detained at the Divisional Police Station, Igbara Oke in Ifedore Council area of the state.

On the possible cause of the crash, some local sources said the truck driver was trying to avoid a pothole when he lost control and ran into the bus. However, the FRSC Sector Commander for Ondo State, Mr. John Meheux, said the bus was overloaded with 28 passengers instead of 15. He said the accident may have been avoided if the drivers had been patient. Mehuex urged all persons driving vehicles to be more careful, especially at bad spots.

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