By Lucy Ogalue
Nigeria Transportation Commissioners’ Forum has reiterated the need for improved technology by enforcement agencies to reduce traffic violations in the country.
The Chairman of the forum, Hajia Rahmatu Yar’Adua made the call at the 2021 Annual Retreat of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigeria Transportation Commissioners’ Forum on Monday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Transportation Commissioners’ Forum was conceived to introduce innovations, initiatives and policies which allows for peer review amongst the federal, state and ministries of transportation.
The forum was established to ensure effective, productive, efficacious advocacy and replication of the global best practices in the transportation sector.
Yar’Adua said that the main objective of the forum was to enforce compliance on roads as one of the factors causing traffic violation were distractions and negligent behaviours by drivers.
She said that in more developed countries, enforcement agencies leveraged on technology to help reduce these factors.
She said that some of the technologies included computer vision and sensor enabled devices designed to capture such violations for efficient and effective control, monitoring and management of traffic situations.
“However, this is not the case in Nigeria as traffic enforcement agencies are still operating manual procedures, which have been found to be challenging and ineffective.
“Arising from this, the forum needs to adopt technological innovations to engineer reforms in the sector that can provide effective control measures against traffic law violators and drastically reduce road transport-related accidents by promoting safer roads.
“In achieving this, we call for partnership with the private sectors with specialised skills, technological innovations, manpower, readiness and willingness to partner with the government to deliver the needed change within the transportation sector.
“First is the computerised vehicle inspection, drivers testing service, secondly, it is electronic enforcement of traffic and thirdly, solutions to security challenges,’’ she said.
According to the chairman, some companies are already providing solutions to the various challenges and very few states within the geopolitical zones have started to key into them.
“Fundamentally, the objective of these solutions are to empower enforcement agencies, ensure that traffic offenders and those who employ the services of vehicles for crimes are traced, captured and prosecuted.
“Thereby reducing the rate of crime, improving compliance, providing employment opportunities and increasing the internally generated revenue of states and the federal government.’’
Yar’Adua said that the forum had since inception strived to change the narrative of the country’s transportation system.
She expressed optimism that the retreat would be able to help address some of the challenges in the sector.
“ For this shall be a sector where safety is considered above all other benefits,’’ she said.
Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Mustapha Jibril, said that Niger state was key to transportation in the country.
“Niger state has the largest land mass, highest length of federal roads, it gave birth to 60 per cent of the FCT, is at the centre of Nigeria and connects every part of the country,’’ Bello said.
He, however, urged governments to develop the Baru port as it would go a long way to easing transportation system in the country.
Anambra governor, Willie Obiano, represented by Mr Afam Mbanefo, urged participants to conceptualise a smart way of working together to synergise and develop the transportation sector to make it more efficient.
Sen. Gyang Istafanus, a member of the Senate Committee on Land Transportation said that the forum provided the nation with a veritable platform to discuss, address, review and assess the workability, variability, functionality, efficiency of policies, plans and programme with direct bearing on the transportation sector and its role in nation building and national development.
“I am glad to note from the keynote address of the chairman of this forum and the commissioner from Niger State that the concept of smart city transportation management system is already being implemented in some states.
“I will urge the replication in all states of the federation for safety in our streets and highways.
“It is necessary for the forum to align its thoughts with the call for the review of the exclusive list in our Constitution to allow for participation and involvement of states in railway transportation,’’ he said.
The Director-General, the Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Bayero Farah reiterated the importance of the forum, saying that it provided an opportunity for stakeholders to interact and share ideas.
“It has the capacity to breach the gap between states to ensure that the country is moving in the same pace in terms of technology.
“I also urge states that are yet to have their own ministry of transportation to do so as it is very key. Without transport, no country or state can achieve effective development.’’
NAN reports that the two-day retreat was attended by various states transport commissioners, partners and stakeholders in the sector among others. (NAN)