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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Road Death Traps And Poor Highway Management, A Major Source Of Worry For Commuters In Biafraland and Nigeria


May 7, 2017

Each time I travel on highways enroute Abuja to cover Nnamdi Kanu’s court proceedings, I always switch my heart at a higher pedestal knowing fully well that am engaging myself in a yet another marathon battle considering the many death traps and decrepit condition of the roads in Nigeria.

In fact, in one of the occasions, the back row tyre of our vehicle had flipped out of its rim and wheel, at other times, the tyre had bursted due to the many road bumps of which had delayed our journey and kept us waiting for several hours till midnight while trying to get it fixed.

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It should be noted that the incessant road carnage in Nigeria is due to the failure and ineptitude of highway administration in the country. The highways are affected by the poorly managed traffic signs and nearly non-existence of road markings.

It is disheartening that across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s network of highways, there are no well designed road signs and markings. The end result is that motorists drive blindly into bumps, bridges and on collision with one another on the dilapidated roads without directions or instructions and quite often end up in a mishap.

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One could drive from Enugu to Abuja or from Lagos to Abuja, a distance of 879 kilometers without finding a single traffic sign or road marking. The same is the case in all the major highways, be it federal or state roads. The roads are merely a stretch of blind alleys that often lead to points of no return.

No amount of campaigns and tutoring to curb road accidents would succeed until government installs appropriate road signs and markings like in other climes. Over and above every other factor, the lack of road signs and markings is to blame for the frequent carnage on Nigerian roads which has become a wet blanket for commuters.

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Many people had perished in various road crashes on Nigeria’s deadly highways. The numerous string of mass deaths from road accidents, occurring in quick succession, in different parts of the country clearly underscores the failure of road transport management in the country.

It is now a very devastating reality caused by insensitivity, greed and lack of care for lives of citizens on the part of government officials who on the other hand, makes use of private roads designated at different parts of the country. To expose the insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude to the plight of citizens, these highly restricted private roads are conspicuously well mapped out and renovated to suit their vehicular movements while ordinary commuters are being barred from plying same route by the heavy presence of security officials guarding those roads from citizens.

No need gainsaying the fact that all the machinery put in place so far to stem road carnage have failed to tame a monster that is snuffing life out of citizens everyday. The reason is that the basic things are not there. All the agencies labouring daily on the roads can do nothing to stop the frequent road carnage because the instruments that should help motorists find their bearing are lacking. That explains why the rate of accidents keep getting worse rather than abating.

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Some of this highway officials and agencies are usually quick in extorting money from drivers and commuters and cares less about the eroding and unpalatable condition of the roads. And this keeps happening unchecked by the authorities.

Nigeria is perhaps the only country in the world where there are no visible traffic signs and road markings on the highways leading to motorists driving blindly and unguarded. It is like a pilot flying an aircraft without radar coverage. He flies blind and in most occasions, the aircraft is bound to crash.

No wonder why highways in Nigeria are riddled with lots of vehicular disasters, crashed vehicles on collision, disfigured vehicles, ripped out tyre wheels, hanging cars on bridge tops and so on, as a result of poor highway administration.

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Traffic signs are usually paraded by the FRSC officials, VIOs and other similar road traffic agencies. Also, driving schools present traffic signs when testing learner drivers. But all these are merely theorized. There are practically few cases in real life where one comes across the road signs on Nigerian roads. Whereas a few may exist in the cities, the road signs and markings are totally absent on the highways.

Given the awful state of roads in the country, a lot still needs to be done to end the frequent road disasters. The federal and state Ministries of Works whose duty it is to manage the highways should install good road signs and other facilities needed to be in place. They have failed to do what is required of them on the roads and by so doing, have contributed immensely in the road disasters.

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue 
Published By Nwosu C.S 
For Biafra Writers 

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