FRSC on how to stem carnage on Sango-Ota tollgate
Over the years, the popular Sango-Ota Tollgate, in Ogun State, which serves, as the boundary between Lagos and Ogun states, has become notorious for incessant auto crashes that have led to the untimely death of many road users.In fact, between 2012 and 2016, at least two crashes were recorded weekly around that axis, with attendant high mortality.
To date, one of the most horrible accidents recorded at the scene took place on a Sunday morning in 2012. In that ghastly incident, a lorry coming from the Ilo Awela end of the road lost control due to brake failure, rammed into vehicles crushing passengers. Most of the passengers were church-bound. By the time the head count was completed, no fewer than 10 were dead and others seriously injured.
On November 18, 2015, two accidents, which involved eight vehicles apiece at 6am, and at 10am at the same spot, claimed nine lives with four others seriously wounded. Over time, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has made several attempts to mitigate the crashes, but not much has been achieved in this regards. Part of the efforts was the clearing of a large expanse of land towards Ajegunle Bus Stop for commuter buses to converge. This was done in order to move them away from the danger zone. Shortly after that step was taken, that parcel of land was later converted to a petrol station.
Of course, with the failure of that step, the lives of motorists and commuters continued being wasted.It was, however, good news when the FRSC informed The Guardian that since last year, carnage on that road have drastically reduced.
According to Sango-Ota FRSC Unit Commander, Mr. Adekunle Oguntoyinbo the unit has been able to achieve more than 30 per cent reduction rate in traffic accidents this year, compared to 2016 when it recorded an average of two per week.The unit commander, who blamed the accidents on the topography of roads in the area and sundry environmental factors revealed that the Sango/Tollgate Road; Ilo-Awela/Tollgate and Ajegunle/Tollgate all slope down to the tollgate.
“Currently, for a month we may not record any accident on the axis, but averagely, I would say that of late, we record one accident in two weeks. This means the rate of accidents has reduced drastically.“What we have done to achieve this is not magic, but for sure, our presence on the road and aggressive public enlightenment campaigns have really helped. We went to churches, mosques, schools, markets, and motor parks, and talked to people there, preached consciousness and good vehicle maintenance culture. These are part of the reasons why the auto crashes have have reduced.
“I equally met with fleet operators within our area of jurisdiction and other stakeholders on the need for good maintenance culture and obedience to traffic rules and regulations, which is equally yielding positive results,” the FRSC chief said. Oguntoyinbo continued: “Another research we carried out showed that most motorists that are involved in these accidents are not too familiar with this road, so we took our time to address company directors, and members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on the need for them to enlighten their drivers on the nature and terrain of roads that lead to the tollgate. This step, we reasoned would come in handy as they approach the tollgate.
“With the modest success we have recorded, we are still wanting, and exploring better ways of reducing the road crashes to zero level. We have also taken time to write to the Federal Ministry of Works, and Ogun State commissioner for works on measures to reduce accidents to the barest minimum.
“Some of such measures include the building of rubble strips to alert and slow down vehicles; construction of barriers along the Ilo Awela Road to prevent articulated vehicles from using the road; construction of a standard bus stop at the tollgate; construction of pedestrian bridge/flyover, and erection of road signs to caution motorists,” he said.