The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, on Wednesday said the economic cost of road accidents in Nigeria amounted to about N450 billion annually.
Ms Saraki also said the recent approval granted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to reconstruct 21 federal roads across the country was a direct response by government to the yearnings of commercial road users.
She spoke at the 2021 Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, workshop in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop had as its theme, “Safety in Road Transportation of Petroleum Products in Nigeria: Short and Long Term Imperatives.”
The minister said data from the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, showed that 5,320 road crashes and 2,471 deaths were recorded in the first half of 2021 nationwide.
She said: “Most of the victims were young people who were in their prime, leaving behind families and loved ones.
“The economic cost of these accidents were not even taken into consideration and if you take it into consideration from our estimate it will be about N450 billion annually.”
According to her, about 52 per cent of these accidents were caused by over-speeding while other factors included bad roads, unqualified drivers, rickety trucks as well as substance and alcohol abuses.
Ms Saraki said the federal government on it’s part was doing its best to rehabilitate the roads across the country which had suffered negligence for years by previous administrations.
She said government recognised that there was a direct link between transportation and the rising cost of food items in the country and was making efforts to address the situation.
Ms Saraki said the 21 roads would be reconstructed by the NNPC at a cost of N621 billion.
“Of the 21 roads, nine were selected in the North-Central, three in the North-East, two in the North-West, two in the South-East, three in the South-South, and two in the South-West.
“The roads total 1,804.6 linear kilometers,” she added.
The minister called on state governments to also rise up to the challenge of fixing bad roads within their states to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians.
Also, Adeyemi Adetunji, Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC, said the workshop was commendable, especially as there was need to curb petroleum products-related road accidents.
Mr Adetunji said the NNPC would continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure safety in the transportation of petroleum products across the country.
The FRSC Corps Marshall, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, said government was initiating several measures to improve safety in distribution of petroleum products.
Mr Oyeyemi, represented by the Lagos Sector Commander, FRSC, Olusegun Ogungbemide, said government had mandated the use of inflammable signs and retro-reflective tapes on trucks to enhance visibility.
He said government had also mandated the installation of speed limiting device on trucks effective February.
According to him, the measures include compulsory installation of safety valves on any tanker plying roads in Nigeria with full implementation beginning from March.
Mr Oyeyemi added that on June 30, 2022 any tanker above 45,000 litres capacity would be prohibited from transportating liquid hydrocarbons.
On their parts, Olumide Adeosun, Chairman, MOMAN and Yusuf Othman, President, NARTO, said the workshop was part of collaboration between both groups to improve safety in distribution of petroleum products.