Prioritise safety, training to minimise accidents, Fashola advises truck owners
• NARTO cautions members against barricading highways during protests
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has urged the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to prioritise training of truck drivers with a view to reducing accidents on the highway.
Fashola, who made the appeal, yesterday, while speaking at the yearly general meeting of the body in Abuja, regretted the high fatalities on the highways caused by reckless driving despite fixing of roads by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over the years.
He said in October 2022 alone, 499 Nigerians died in road accidents, with over 2,000 others injured nationwide.
The minister, who restated the current administration’s commitment to massive investment in road infrastructure to guarantee safety and ensure that Nigerians in haulage business reap good, challenged NARTO to promote training of its drivers by insisting on certification.
He said: “Road construction brings businesses for your trucks, employment for a lot of people. By investing in infrastructure, this government is committed to ensuring that you reap the investment on your trucks.
“We have finished 8,000 kilometres of roads and drivers will tell you that the roads are now better. The real beneficiaries of the increase in funding for roads are NARTO.
“I appeal for safety on our roads. In one month, in October, last year, we lost 449 people and over 2,000 injured. I appeal to your leadership to show more interest in safety. Driving is a profession, and those who drive trucks must be well trained.
I know if you set your minds to it, you can achieve it. Create your own certification; let your drivers be certificated. Anyone not certified, hand him over to Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). Try and stay within the speed limit. Those articulated trucks are difficult to control when they are on high speed.
“No truck driver must be seen on the left side of the road, you can pass that resolution, and you would have contributed significantly to reducing accidents on our roads.”
Earlier in his welcome address, NARTO’s National President, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, deplored the poor road network in the country.
He, however, commended the current administration for seizing the initiative to address the unpleasant situation.
His words: “Bad roads have continued to be the major threats to smooth and safe transportation of goods and people throughout the country. However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved utilisation of N621 billion NNPC tax credits for repair of 21 critical roads across the country. The NNPC and FIRS have since set up a monitoring team to supervise the project.