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Please, halt the needless carnages on our roads now


Maintenance work on Shogbamu street, Bariga.<br />

Again, one is pushed, yes pushed, to appeal to Nigerian governments and road users alike to halt the needless carnages on our roads, caused by bad (dangerous) roads and mad traffic manners.

I first made this appeal in my article, titled, Blowing Their Killer Sirens, published in The Guardian on Sunday issue of February 20, 1994. When that appeal with those of other Nigerians appeared to have fallen on deaf ears, I updated my 1994 appeal in 2013, in another article titled, Convoys, Carnages and Caution.

Each time lives are wasted on our roads one’s heart sinks and a loud cry, with others, is made to prick the conscience of all parties that can stem, or at least reduce these carnages.

On Tuesday, February 13, this year, 23 students and two teachers of Government Junior Secondary School, Misau, Bauchi State died in a road accident along the Misau-Kano Road, when the Hummer bus conveying the students and their teachers on an excursion to a television station in Kano was involved in an head-on collision with an articulated vehicle (trailer).

According to media reports, the students were members of their school’s Hausa Language Club. The cause of the fatal accident which occurred mid morning was blamed on the driver of the articulated lorry who, while avoiding a damaged portion of the highway, collided his vehicle head-on, with the students bus. May the souls of all the victims of the accident rest in peace. Amen

A few days before the Misau tragedy, exactly on Sunday, February 11, a retired army general and former Minister of Internal Affairs during the regime of former military president Ibrahim Babangida, John Shagaya, died in a road accident which was blamed on a burst tyre, which caused the late General Shagaya’s jeep to somersault severally. He died on the spot.

As I said earlier, one is compelled to recall the “take caution” article, when lives are wasted on our roads due to one preventable fault or the other. Following is my warning article titled, Convoys, Carnages and Caution.

“In a widely-published statement on May 7, 2015 titled, “Obey traffic rules, Buhari tells escorts” Retired General Muhammadu Buhari, a former Head of State was quoted inter alia as saying through the Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mallam Garba Shehu, that: “The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday ordered all security personnel attached to him as well as his official escorts to obey traffic rules.”

“Buhari was quoted saying, obedience to law would be the guiding philosophy of his administration, adding that “without leadership by example, the ordinary citizens would become copycats of the lawlessness of their leaders.

“The President-elect explained that the “arrogance of power, lawlessness and disregard for the rights and convenience of fellow citizens will have no place in his government.

“According to him, for leaders to inspire respect, they must obey the laws, adding that when leaders treat the country’s laws with contempt, they would be sending wrong messages to the citizens.

“Gen. Buhari lamented a situation where fellow citizens” are punished at traffic points and public roads because of the arrogant lawlessness of the leaders.

“Gen. Buhari’s call is in tandem, with due respect, with my long standing campaigns against the abuse of siren and convoy protocol by many public and private users.

“Each time Nigeria’s ‘big’ men and women violate society’s sensibilities with their mis-use of siren and convoys, oftentimes, resulting in fatalities or serious injuries and damages, I am pricked to shout out caution to and prosecution of offenders.

“Now that Nigerians and our friends all over the world look with eagerness to the much needed change(s) to uplift the rule of law, governance, public conduct, utterances, efficient management of public / private resources etc, the reported admonition of General Buhari on convoys is most welcome and a good pointer to what is forthcoming viz the Buhari / Osinbajo government.

“As a take-away for Gen. Buhari’s protocol team and reminder to current and future users/ controllers of siren and convoys in the country, I reproduce below my article on convoys earlier published in some national newspapers (for ease of reference, The Guardian issue February 20, 1994):

“I am constrained to recall my February 20, 1994 article titled, “Blowing Their Killer Sirens” due to the recurring fatal road accidents in the country, especially on the part of convoys of public officials.

Alabi, agba akin olubadan of ibadanland and cultural ambassador of the National Museum, Ile – Ife, Osun State.

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