Road Users Development Network of Nigeria (RUDEN), an NGO, has appealed to the Federal Government to expand the Abuja-Keffi expressway to reduce road crashes.
The executive director of the group, Dr John Uket, made the appeal at a National Traffic Summit held in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The theme of the summit was ‘Traffic Report, a Tool to Enhancing Road Safety in Nigeria’.
While noting that roads were to a large extent a definition of economic development of a people, Uket called on government to urgently rehabilitate major federal roads especially the Abuja-Keffi expressway.
“The Abuja-Keffi expressway is said to have the highest vehicular density in West Africa and has been a nightmare for road users,” he said.
He said Nigeria as a developing country could only rise above the precipice if only efforts and investment of government on the roads were well complemented by citizens with vision for safer roads.
“Recently, the World Bank estimated that about 1.17 million people die from road accidents annually and well over 70 percent of these deaths are from developing countries.
“It is on record that Nigeria ranked among one of the 10 countries with unsafe roads or tragic roads,” Uket said.
The executive director lamented that travel by road in the country was gradually becoming like an adventure into the jungle.
“It is regrettable to note that even the efforts of designated agencies of government in such direction is feigned and likely unimaginative in salvaging the quagmire,” he noted.
According to Uket, the roads in the South-west are becoming impassable as commuters hold fast to frustrations toward their destinations.
“The roads at the North-west and North-east appear motorable but with the highest risk of a lifetime as travelers are subjected to broad day crimes.
“The roads in the South-east and South-South are wrecked by erosions and are death traps.
“What will I say of the North-central where roads have likely lost their importance to both government and citizens.”
This, he said was because of the vehicular propensity which defiled the present capacity beside the incessant road crashes.
Uket said the summit which was a citizenry approach, was aimed at advocating an efficient Transport Intelligence Systems (TIS) which was a modern trend in solving road traffic issues.
“We hope to herald a resurgence in the advocacy for road safety education in our school system in order to entrench a healthy road users and safety culture in the populace,” he said.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal Federal Road Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who declared the summit open, commended Road Users Development Network of Nigeria for taking the issue of road management seriously.
Oyeyemi was represented by the Deputy Public Education Officer, Mr Maccharm Sambo.
“This is a wonderful initiative which should encouraged,” he said.
The NGO was established five years ago.
High point at the occasion was the launching of the NGO’s fund. (NAN)