By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is need for synergy among stakeholders in order to promote road safety in the country.
Osinbajo made the call on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving on courtesy visit a team led by Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State for Health, in commemoration of the Global Road Safety Week.
The slogan chosen for 2021 UN Global Traffic Safety Week is “Street for Life,’’ to call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.
Osinbajo, who is Chairman of the National Road Safety Advisory Council, congratulated all of the agencies, ministries of health and transport, and the lead agency on road safety administration and safety management.
“We must commend the UN, especially for the resolution, which has brought all of these about.
“ I think that making road safety a public health issue is one of the very creative ways of ensuring that we all able to synergise as the Ministry of Health is properly brought into the picture properly; which explains why the minister is a key part of the activities of this week and of course the second decade of action.
“I think that those synergies are important; the synergies between the ministries and the synergies between the Federal Government, the states and the Local Government Councils.
“Many of our streets belong to states and local governments; so, there is absolutely no way we can talk about road safety in any sensible way without bringing in the states and local governments; I think those synergies are important.
“And I am sure also that you are walking with the ministries of health and transport in the states of the federation.’’
According to him, what the federal government is trying to do is first to encourage states to do not just their roads, but federal roads, where they can.
He said that federal roads were practically in all the states.
“With this administration, the president was able to open up the states for states to do federal roads and be compensated for where they have sought appropriate permissions in order to do those roads,’’ he said.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, Corp Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corp, who is a part of the team, later told State House correspondents that the initiative was geared at promoting reasonable speed limit in the urban areas.
Displaying a card with the inscription “30km/H”, Oyeyemi said that the Global Road Safety Week was being celebrated globally.
“Speed is the major challenge in the highways; 50 per cent of the fatalities is as a result of speed violations and the global body’s focus is to promote the need for people to be more safety conscious in reducing the speed.
“I have seen that a lot of young ones are been killed in urban areas; hence the need to compel member bodies to make sure that the maximum speed limit in urban areas is 30 km per hour.
“And we are happy for the vice president for spear-heading this as the chairman of the National Road Safety Advisory Council; so the same thing is going on in other parts of the country.
“It is promoting the need in urban areas to cut down the speed maximum of 30 km per hour and we believe we will be able to achieve this with the cooperation of all the road users,’’ he said.
Oyeyemi added that the corps would work with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that appropriate road signs were installed in the urban areas as well as stop signs at the junctions.
On his part, Mamora said there was need to eliminate the burden of accidents; hence the focus on prevention which, in itself, was part of managing the health of human beings as well.
Speaking, Dr Sydney Ibeanusi, the Country Director and Focal Person for the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention for Nigeria, said the benefits of the initiatives would be immense.
“The short time benefit of this will be to save lives; saving the number of people who are killed or injured on the roads.
“In the long term, the huge economic impact, we lose between three to five per cent of our Gross Domestic Product annually from road crashes; that translates to about N6 trillion to N9 trillion every year; so the long time impact is huge.
“Most developed countries have realised that and took up road safety as a major economic investment and are reaping the benefits,’’ he said.
He said that the target was to reduce deaths and disability by 50 per cent by the year 2030. (NAN)