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Reducing road carnage through public private partnership

By Itunu Ajayi, Abuja
24 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
DESPITE increasing efforts by the agency saddled with ensuring that carnage is reduced on the highways, Nigeria is still rated second globally on road accidents, after Thailand.      This record obviously is not enviable.  Three reasons have been adduced by experts for accidents which had claimed the lives of the poor and rich alike- state…


DESPITE increasing efforts by the agency saddled with ensuring that carnage is reduced on the highways, Nigeria is still rated second globally on road accidents, after Thailand.  

   This record obviously is not enviable.  Three reasons have been adduced by experts for accidents which had claimed the lives of the poor and rich alike- state of the vehicle; state of mind of the driver and the condition of the road.  While government can do its citizens much good by putting in place good road network, put in place structures  to ensure that those driving on the roads are well trained and well informed on the operations of the road, efforts should be geared towards ensuring that vehicles are near perfect mechanically and otherwise.

   In order to achieve the third objective of ensuring that vehicles on the roads are near perfect, a private sector firm had indicated its readiness to build computerized vehicle inspection garages across all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.   Two garages has already taken off in the FCT since October 2014, while enforcement proper started January 5, 2015.  It is expected that all vehicles plying the roads in the FCT undergo computerized check followed by issuance of road worthiness certificate which certifies such vehicle fit to be on the road.  This is a departure from the manual way of vehicle inspection by the vehicle inspection officers (V.I.Os) in Nigeria.  

    Managing Director, Temple resources Limited, Segun Obayendo, said the agenda of the company is to ensure that accidents, occasioned by bad vehicles, are reduced on the roads.  According to him, the company’s desire is to replicate what is already operational in Abuja, across the states of the federation. 

   Niger state is coming after the FCT to key into the project. At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Temple resources to manage road transport administration in the state the governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, explained that the partnership will not only reduce carnage on the roads, it will also reduce economic waste caused by avoidable accidents, enhance world rating of the state in motor vehicle administration mechanism, enhance the internally generated revenue of the state and create jobs for the teeming population of the state.

The governor who was represented by the Commissioner of Transport, Mahuod Kpako Bello, said the collaboration became imperative due to the strategic location of the state coupled with its large land mass which has made it a major transport hub.  He said with Nigeria’s over 17 million registered vehicles on the roads, the need to enforce regular inspection towards reducing accident rate to the barest minimum is most appropriate and timely.

   The MoU is designed to introduce technical and mechanical expertise into vehicle administration inthe state by way of conducting tests for road worthiness of vehicles with state of the arts computerized garages and issuance of certificates of road worthiness to vehicle owners.

   On its part, the state will make provision for land space for the construction of four proposed garages, while Temple resources will bear all the finances of the construction of the garages and equip same.

   The governor maintained that “Temple resources shall design, construct, equip and manage the vehicle testing and inspection garages within the state to ensure that all vehicle plying roads in the state are registered with the minimum standards.  The company shall deploy vehicle testing and inspection machines for emission, alignment, side slip, shocks, under pit inspection for loose bolts, knots, leakages, break and headlamps.  The company undertake to fund the project fully without recourse to the state government for financial assistance”.

   He said further: “The state government is to provide land to the company at four identified locations in Minna, Suleja, Kotangora and Bida for the construction of the garages on build, operate, manage and transfer (BOMT) basis”.

   He said the land being provided shall be the state government’s equity in the service that the proposed sharing formula of the profit made is 20 percent to the state government and 80 percent to Temple resources limited and utilization of 1 percent of the project fund for capacity building to be provided by the company. 

   He said the partnership which started three years ago between the Niger state government and temple resources would sanitize the road transport system of the state adding that Nigeria with more than 17 million vehicles on the road could create environment where the rate of accident on its roads can be minimised to the barest minimum.

   Liking medical check- ups  to vehicles’ computerized checks, Bello averred that while negligence in bodily medical check-up can result in loss of life, same attitude as regards vehicles can result to loss of lives as it portends danger, not only to the drivers of such vehicles, but their passengers and other road users. 

   “That is why if it is important for people to take care of their bodies, then it is more important to take care of their vehicle that may at any point in time has more than one soul in it.   

    He said the need to protect lives and properties of the people of Niger has become imperative apart from the fact that the internally generated revenue IGR of the state would also improve.

He said trainings will be organise for road side mechanics, vulcanizers and those handing vehicle repairs generally.  He said the state through the partnership would also align with the rest of the world in the management of the environment by reducing the amount of emission released into the air through vehicles that are not road worthy.

   He maintained that the success of the project rest solely on the state.  In order to achieve sustainability of the project such that it would not be jettisoned by future administration, Bello said policy back up has been put in place by the state government to ensure that the project outlive the present administration and subsequent ones “So whatever is left out now are some subjective issues like issues concerning enforcement”. Bello said.

   “Temple resources can only be efficient if our V.I.O, road safety and other stakeholders bring to play everything they have at their disposal to ensure enforcement because it is enforcement that will bring the benefits of this agreement to pass.  Other stakeholders’ role in this agreement is as important as the role of Temple resources, without your role and ensuring discipline, everything will come to nought.”

   Obayendo explained that one of the three major causes of accidents on Nigeria roads would be taken care of by the inspection of vehicles to ensure they are in good state.  He said the other two causes which stem from state of mind of the driver and state of the roads are things that can be worked on over time.  

      Citing the example of the recent accident which claimed the lives of eleven women in Bayelsa State as a result of tyre burst, Obayendo said if computerized motor inspection has been put in place across the country, it may be possible that such accident would have been averted as inspection would have shown that the life span of the tyre was minimal.  

   Obayendo said the world over has embraced computerized way of checking vehicles for road worthiness and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in the scheme of things.

He added that the garages has already taken-off in Abuja while the company  is set to sign MoUs with some other states that are ready to key into the scheme.   

    He explained that the German partner of the company had a guarantee $1billion from the World Bank six years ago to bankroll the project across Nigeria.  He said the impression the partner had was that once the FCT MoU was signed, same would be replicated in all the states of the federation and the project can start simultaneously across the country.  

   He lamented the non-cooperation of some states wondering what the issue could be when the company is not asking for funding from the states.  He said some states told him emphatically that they are not ripe for computerized vehicle inspection, just as a lot of people said Nigeria was not ripe for GSM some years back.  He however expressed optimism that if the country could overcome the initial hurdles of those who do not have faith in GSM then, the country will also make bold to say in no distance future that it has one of the best computerized vehicle inspection systems in place.

He said by the time the company registered it presence in all the 36 states with well -established computerized garages, the rate of accident in Nigeria would have been reduced to its barest minimal.