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Inside Ogun road accidents

At least 2,100 road users have been sent into their early graves between 2014 and 2021 in Ogun State, making it one of the top…

At least 2,100 road users have been sent into their early graves between 2014 and 2021 in Ogun State, making it one of the top states with road fatalities in the country, Daily Trust investigation has revealed.

The state plays host to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode/Benin-Ore Abeokuta and Ota-Idiroko highways marked as some of the busiest roads in the country. These roads are notorious for road crashes in the state, accounting for about 90 per cent of the accidents.

Similarly, an average of 1.5 million vehicles ply roads within Ogun State daily, according to the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), a state-owned traffic agency.

In 2019, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, projected that no fewer than 16 million passengers travelled on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway during the festive period.

Bad roads and human errors, experts say, account for the road crashes which Ogun is now synonymous with.

According to statistics from FRSC and TRACE, between 2014 and 2018, 1,286 people died on Ogun roads, while 6,749 were injured. In 2019, 338 passengers died, while 176 were killed in 2020.

In 2021, over 300 lives were lost in various road accidents in the state. According to FRSC, 1,200 people were involved in the various road accidents with over 200 vehicles involved.

The agency noted that speed violation, a human error, accounted for over 77 per cent of accidents in the state in 2021.

The FRSC also revealed that Sienna vehicles also referred to as space buses had high involvement rate in the crashes during the year under review.

“The year 2021 was characterised by an upsurge in road traffic crashes in Ogun State,” the FRSC stated.

Findings also revealed that the rate of involvement of trucks and articulated vehicles in road crashes, especially along the Lagos–Ibadan expressway was alarming.

At least 441 trucks and articulated vehicles were among the 1,324 vehicles involved in road accidents last year.

According to the FRSC, 441 trucks and articulated vehicles were involved in road traffic crashes in Ogun between January and August, 2021.

In November last year, 15 lives were lost on Lagos-Ibadan expressway with 48 hours, prompting the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to summon the Federal Controller of Works, Engr. Umar Bakare and the representatives of the contractor handling the reconstruction of the expressway.

The governor blamed the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan expressway reconstruction work for failure to provide safety signs on the road “which had in recent times led to the unfortunate but preventable loss of lives and carnage on the country’s busiest route.”

Following the summons, the officials of government and the federal controller held a meeting at the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, with a view to addressing the challenges.

The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr Ade Akinsanya, after the meeting told newsmen that based on the directive of the governor, there would be changes on road signs, improvement of traffic management, while the pace of work will increase.

In his remarks, Bakare said the contractor was fully aware of the need to ensure adequate traffic signs on the road and that the contractor had committed  to improving traffic management on the road.

“The contractor has committed to improve on their traffic management and they have also requested for further sensitization of the public on the construction work going on and in respect to road signs. They also requested for additional reinforcement within the stretch where work is ongoing at Ogere where we have a lot of trucks, tankers and all sorts of articulated vehicles that usually park on the road,” Bakare stated.

The Corps Commander of TRACE, Seni Ogunyemi, blamed 48.21% of the road traffic crashes on over-speeding, 15.5% by dangerous driving, 9.29% by bad tyres, 9.76% by driving against traffic and 17.23% by other causes ranging from human, mechanical, environmental as well as institutional factors.

FRSC arrested  4,000 offenders in  2021

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said it apprehended no fewer than 4,000 offenders for speed limit device violation in Ogun in 2021.

The FRSC State Sector Commander, Ahmed Umar, disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta during the command’s 2021 end-of-year party.

The FRSC boss noted that speed had been identified as one of the leading factors causing accidents on the roads, saying the corps would not rest on its oars to sustain the enforcement of speed limit devices.

He noted that the FRSC in Ogun had embarked on a robust public education and enlightenment, especially for articulated vehicle owners and drivers on why they should maintain safe speed.

Umar said the FRSC’s projection is to drastically reduce road crashes this year.

“Crashes increased in 2021 compared to 2020 with 56.4 per cent of the total crashes happening on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

“Our projection for 2022 is to drastically reduce accidents on our roads, particularly in Ogun State. We will work assiduously to ensure smooth mobility and crash-free mobility,” he said.

Umar also appealed to drivers of trucks and articulated vehicles to obey the stipulated 60km per hour speed limit by installing speed limiting devices.

“We shall sustain our enforcement against driving under influence of drugs and alcohol on all categories of vehicles in collaboration with the NDLEA,’’ he said.

Also worried by the rate of road crashes, a first class monarch, the Olota of Ota, Oba (Prof.) Abdulkadir Obalanlege, called on motorists to ensure that their vehicles passed through the computerised Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), for proper electronic checking to reduce accidents on the road.

He made the call while presenting his official vehicle to the Ota Zonal Office of the Ogun State VIS in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area for electronic checking. He said it was necessary to reduce carnage on the roads, as most road accidents were avoidable if motorists do a thorough check on their vehicles before putting them on the road.

“I will like to enjoin all vehicle owners to present their vehicles for proper inspection to get rid of avoidable accidents that are usually caused by vehicle malfunctioning. We should make use of available services provided by the Ogun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection,” Olota said.

He also advised motorists to obtain drivers’ license and renew their vehicle documents, saying “it is risky to drive without being duly licensed’’.

On his part, the State VIO Zonal Commander, Ota, Dr. Oluwatoyin Olugbenga, who said it was an offense for anyone to drive with an expired drivers license or not having it at all, counselled motorists to obtain license and observe road signs.

The State Secretary of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Tiwalade Akingbade, told Daily Trust that the union has stepped up its orientation against speeding and reckless driving, as part of moves to curb incessant crashes on the roads.

Akingbade, however, blamed younger passengers for high number of crashes on the road, saying “they are always in a hurry.”

He said “Research has proven that over-speeding is the major cause of road accidents. And we have always organised workshops and other sensitisation programmes for our people and encourage them to adhere to speed limit as much as possible.

“Also, demography has shown that attitudes of the commuters/passengers also contribute to road accidents. Our demography shows that a commercial vehicle carrying younger passengers has tendencies to be involved in a road crash than the one carrying older people. Younger passengers are always in a hurry.

“So, passengers should stop this attitude of asking drivers to speed up during a trip. We should always be cautious. It’s better to be late to the event than to lose your life on the road.

Akingbade also asked government to use the railways in transporting fuel and other heavy goods across the country.