Give Priority To Members’ Safety, Maintenance Of Federal Roads, Fashola Tasks Truck Owners


  • No Justification To Protest On Highways, NARTO President Says

MINISTER of Works and Housing, Honourable Babatunde Raji Fashola has urged members of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, (NARTO) to place priority on adequate training of truck drivers to mitigate accidents on the highways.

Fashola gave the advice on Tuesday while speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the association held in Abuja.

The Minister who recalled efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to put federal roads in good shape through maintenance and rehabilitation expressed concern over spate of fatal accidents which he attributed to reckless driving.

He disclosed that in October 2022, 499 Nigerians were lost to fatal accidents and over 2000 injured on roads across the country in one month.

The Minister of Works who maintained that the Buhari administration remained committed to huge investment on road infrastructure to guarantee safety and ensure that Nigerians in haulage business reaped huge investments on their trucks, declared that NARTO must promote training of their drivers by insisting on certification.

He said:” Roads construction brings businesses for your trucks, employment for a lot of people. By investing in infrastructure,  this government is committed to ensure that you reap your investment on your trucks.

“We have finished 8,000 kilometers of roads and drivers will tell you that the roads are now better.  The real beneficiaries of the increase on funding on roads are NARTO

“I appeal for safety on our roads. In one month, in October, last year,  we lost 449 people and  over 2000 injured. I appeal to your   leadership to show more interest in safety .  Driving is a profession and those who drive trucks must be well trained. I know if you set your minds to it, you can achieve it.

Create your own certification, let your drivers be certificated. Anyone not certified, hand him over to Federal Road Safety Commission.  Try and stay within the speed limit. Those articulated trucks are difficult to control when they are on high speed.

“No truck driver must be seen on the left side of the road, you can pass that resolution and you would have contributed significantly to reducing accidents on our roads.”

Earlier in his welcome address, National President of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman  expressed concern over the poor state of road network in the country. He however commended the present administration for seizing the initiative to address the unsavoury situation.

He said, “Bad roads have continued to be the major threats to the smooth and safe transportation of goods and people throughout the country. However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel as the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the utilization of the sum of N621 billion NNPC Tax Credits for the repair and rehabilitation of 21 critical roads across the country.

“The NNPC/FIRS have since set up a monitoring team to supervise the project. | am glad to inform you that | was invited to represent NARTO on that Committee, and we have already started work with our recent visits to Niger, Lagos and Delta States to ascertain the level of Progress being made.

“In addition to the above, the GCEO of NNPC, in one of our meetings, has hinted that he was proposing a N1 trillion fund for the rehabilitation of roads. “Interestingly, just last Wednesday, 18 January 2023, the federal government took a giant step towards road rehabilitation with the Federal Executive Council’s approval of N1.9 trillion for NNPC to build 44 roads In different parts of the country. For this singular act, the federal government and the NNPCL deserve our commendation.”

Alhaji Othman also called ” on the government to checkmate the excesses of some overzealous security personnel who take pleasure in killing and maiming road workers at the slightest provocation.

The NARTO President who  cited the last incident on Kaduna —Kano Expressway where a   military personnel shot dead a driver, called on the government to investigate the incident and prosecute the culprit without further delay.

He equally cautioned truck drivers to stop blocking the highways while seeking for redress.

“Complete blockade of a major expressway such as Kaduna Kano Expressway to protest an act of injustice is itself a major act of injustice because the road users that are trapped were not the perpetrators of the act. Therefore, why should they suffer for the offense of someone? I call on drivers to consider this situation and seek redress through some other peaceful means rather than subjecting the entire road users to unjustified hardship.

“We are worried about the wanton burning and destruction of our trucks and the brutal killings of our drivers in some parts of the country. We therefore strongly call on governments at all levels to take appropriate measures to stop these atrocities. We believe that failure to take appropriate measures of dealing with any Identified culprits is what emboldens and strengthens them to continue committing the crime. This is completely unacceptable and must never be allowed to continue.”

Those who graced the occasion and gave goodwill messages included, Mr. Yemi Adetunji, Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPCL, who represented the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mele Kyari; Alhaji Debo Ahmed, President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, ( IPMAN); National Chairman, PTD- NUPENG, Comrade Lucky Osesua, amongst others.

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