Transport agencies now after money, fail to check container-laden trucks, says group

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) yesterday, asked Federal and State authorities to punish drivers and companies who own heavy-duty trucks found to have violated road laws that lead to death of Nigerians.
[FILES] Trucks parked on the road side waiting to get access into Tincan port in Apapa, Lagos. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) yesterday, asked Federal and State authorities to punish drivers and companies who own heavy-duty trucks found to have violated road laws that lead to death of Nigerians.

It slammed the Federal Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Offices, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and other state-related traffic management agencies for being commercially focused instead of sticking to their statutory responsibility.

The group also tasked the transport management agencies to be committed to mandate of approving the worthiness of vehicles on the nation’s roads and checkmate the excesses of container-laden trucks that have for years been a menace around major roads such as Lagos–Ibadan, East-West Road, Apapa link roads, Kano–Kaduna–Abuja, Second Niger Bridge, and Port Harcourt–Aba.
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In a statement, HURIWA’s Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, lamented that agencies in charge of vehicle inspection and drivers’ licence in Nigeria have been compromised and infested with corruption as many of unqualified and incompetent drivers are being issued licences, thereby causing road accidents.

The group said the untimely death of nine passengers who were killed by a container-laden truck, which fell on a mini-bus at the Ojuelegba area of Lagos, was totally avoidable if the authorities did their job well.

It also lamented the death of 11 other persons at the Soka Bridge on the Lagos-Benin Highway, when a truck driving against traffic collided with another commercial bus.

According to HURIWA, the statistics of truck-related accidents are staggering and pathetic, especially in Nigeria.

“For instance, the World Economic Forum said road traffic collision is the eighth leading cause of death for all ages. While the National Bureau of Statistics reported that 41,709 persons died due to road traffic causes from 2013 to 2020 in Nigeria, the FRSC recorded 13,027 crashes nationwide in 2021.

The World Health Organisation estimated 41,693 deaths on Nigerian roads, 2.82 per cent of the global total. A 2010 study said RTCs imposed an economic cost of N80 billion yearly on Nigeria. Yet, the authorities have failed to fix the roads, restrict movement of trucks in urban areas to the hours of 11:p.m., and 5:a.m.
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“Many years after the Federal Government set up the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian roads have become killing fields due to a combination of factors, including the substandard roads infrastructure, collapses of roads network, failure of government authority to regulate vehicular movements with view to maintaining standards,” Onwubiko said.

He expressed concern that Vehicle Inspection Offices and the FRSC are basically not committed to enforcing laws that will keep citizens who are road users safe from all kinds of heavy-duty vehicles laden with containers and not properly articulated in such way that the containers won’t fall off.

“The rate of accidents in Nigeria is about the highest in Africa if not the highest in the world. The FRSC and the VIOs run by state and federal governments are commercially focused and don’t bother enforcing the law guiding standardisation of vehicles plying the roads. States and federal government must take action to stop the carnage on the highways, charge drivers of trucks laden with container improperly with attempted murder so as to prevent this kind of deadly incident that happened in Lagos.”
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