Just two weeks to the end of 2021, there is heightened fear over incessant accidents on roads across Bauchi State, especially this Yuletide season when many people travel from one part of the country to another to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families.
The fear, no doubt, emanated from the high number of road crashes witnessed recently in the State, leading to loss of many lives while property worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
Though statistics of road accidents in the last quarter of the year is yet to be released by the appropriate authorities, not less than 55 lives have been lost to accidents in the state from 1st November till date.
Lamenting this sad development at a recent Special Marshals’ monthly meeting held in Bauchi, the state Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Yusuf Abdullahi, noted that the devil has taken over Bauchi roads in recent times, saying that, “I am very sorry to say, but the fact is that the devil has taken over roads in Bauchi State. We really need to stand up and do something to reclaim the roads.
“The situation is so terrible, in the month of November, it was a case of one death per day because we had not less than 35 deaths from accidents across the state. This is worrisome and disturbing, something has to be done quickly.”
Abdulahi identified Bauchi-Kano road and Bauchi-Jos road and Darazo-Dukku-Gombe road as bad spots in the state, which are claiming lives.
While lamenting that people have not been cooperating with the Corps in the state to checkmate incessant road accidents, Abdullahi said, “all the efforts of the sector to solicit support from individuals in the state on how to check the accidents have proved abortive.
“We had a stakeholder’s meeting on the need for collaboration but it is a pity that no favourable response is forthcoming.”
Speaking with DAILY POST on the sad development, the Corps sector Public Relations Officer (PRO), Rilwanu Suleiman Birni Kebbi, said that reducing carnages on the roads in Bauchi State in particular and the country at large was a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.
According to the sector’s spokesman, “everyone has a responsibility to play to see that lives are safe on our roads,” adding that Nigerians should not allow drivers to joke with their lives through reckless driving.
He attributed the incidents to high volume of traffic, particularly during the end of the year, over-speeding, violation of traffic rules and regulations, overloading on the part of drivers, among others.
Rilwanu said that the FRSC in the state was not just folding its arms and watching as lives were being lost daily, informing that the Corps had since commenced sensitisation campaigns at various motor parks in the state.
“We have started to campaign in all the motor parks across the state to reduce to the barest minimum cases of accidents and the resultant deaths and loss of property.”
He added that the Corps is not restricting the safety campaign to parks alone as it has also embarked on an enlightenment campaign to enlighten other road users, including private vehicle owners and other road stakeholders on the dangers of violation of traffic rules and regulations, including overspeeding, overloading, among others.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman, Bauchi State Road Transport Agency (BAROTA), Air Commodore Tijjani Baba Gamawa (rtd) said accidents occur in the state largely due to reckless driving by both commercial and private drivers and non-compliance to traffic regulations, adding that some drivers drive under the influence of illicit drugs and alcohol.
According to Gamawa, “by taking all these types of dangerous things before driving or even while driving, definitely accident must happen.
“Some of them, if you see what they are doing, you will think that they are not in their senses. Even passengers see the driver driving recklessly, yet they can’t talk to him until sometime bad happens.”
He noted that most of these accidents are actually avoidable if people avoid reckless driving as well as obey traffic laws.
Gamawa informed that as part of its responsibility, BAROTA was involved in public enlightenment with a view to telling road users, mostly drivers, on the need to carefully drive as well as follow laid down traffic rules and regulations.
“What we, as an agency are doing and within our responsibility, is public enlightenment so that people should know that they have to drive very carefully, they have to also follow traffic regulations,” the BAROTA boss told DAILY POST.
He added that the agency also engages in the enforcement of various traffic rules and regulations in order to compel motorists to comply with existing regulations, saying that ”this is being done in order to ensure safer roads in the state.
“The only way we can stop road accidents is to sensitise drivers and talk to them and then we get involved in a lot of enforcement so that there will be no accident during the Yuletide period and beyond,” Gamawa said.