The National Council on Works has approved the constitution of a task force to sensitize Nigerians and facilitate the removal of illegal and inappropriate speed bumps from the Nigerian roads as well as determine the correct location and types of speed bumps to be erected on the nation’s highways.
This formed part of memoranda submitted by the Federal Road Safety Corps and the resolutions arising from the 22nd meeting of the National Council on Works in Katsina State with the theme “Prioritization and Optimization of Allocated Infrastructure Funds”.
According to the Council, most of the road traffic crashes which occur on the highways could be traced to the presence of inappropriate speed bumps which do not comply with contemporary global standards on road markings and signages.
The Council therefore endorsed the constitution of a special task force to be led by the Federal Controllers of Works in each state, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Police, State Traffic Management Agencies and affected communities to sensitize and facilitate removal of illegal and inappropriate speed bumps from Nigerian highways, in addition to determining the exact location and type of speed bumps to be erected on our highways as part of measures to reverse the trend of avoidable road traffic crashes According to Bisi Kazeem, Head , Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, the Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola indicated his Ministry’s support for the Federal Road Safety Corps’ sustained initiatives towards enthroning safer road use in Nigeria such as the reduction of speed limit violation through the introduction of speed limiters on vehicles, educate road users about safety and enforce the law against unqualified drivers from using our highways and reduce the danger they pose to themselves and other citizens.
Speaking further, he said “Let me express my support for a road safety initiative that the FRSC is set to commence in our highways in order to promote safety. They plan to increase highway patrols and ensure that motorists stay and maintain the use of the right lane unless they are overtaking” he said.
Fashola also added that “This is in accord with global best practice and FRSC plans a pilot programme that will increase slowly until nationwide coverage is achieved”.
On violation of the Federal Highway Act, Fashola also stated that the full width of the highways has been encroached by illegal activity in the name of trading and business. “When we spend money to build a road of two or three lanes and one or two lanes are taken over by trucks parked on them, or traders positioned on them, it constricts movement, causes traffic, results in lost man hours and stifles the economy. This is not the way to build property and it must stop”.
He therefore solicited for the support of the state governments to work with the Federal Controllers of Works to recover the right-of-way.
“Let me be clear. I am not against trade. Indeed, improved trade and commerce is what the economy needs most. The roads that my ministry is charged to build and repair are meant to boost trade and commerce”.
According to the Honorable Minister, trade and commerce that takes place right on the highway or within the 45.72 metres right-of-way is illegal counter-productive, adding that the following objectives will be pursued vigorously: “It is not to relocate or drive away traders, it is to locate them to the set back of the 45.72 metres right way and we will not compromise on this. If the first thing we achieve is the recovery of the right-of-way, commuters will be able to report a better traveling experience this December”.
The Minister also frowned on the sad and unpatriotic activities of petroleum products transporters who carry cargoes of up to 60,000 litres on the highways, instead of the maximum of 33,000 litres approved by law thus exceeding the capacity of load recommended for the Nigerian highways, with attendant grievous consequences on the state of the roads.
In a related development, the Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari recalled that the annual National Council on Works is the highest policy making body on roads infrastructural development which enable stakeholders to discuss policies and challenges on roads development in Nigeria.
He also described the theme for the conference as apt and timely in view of the present economic challenges facing road infrastructure development in Nigeria and the need to utilize the available human capacity within the sector, to design policies on road development, in addition to transparency and political will.
Speaking further, Hon Masari also stated that the need for a holistic efforts to be made towards improving the quality of lives in the country. He made this observation against the backdrop of poor road culture in Nigeria where about 50% of vehicles that ply our roads are unlicensed and unqualified drivers who resort to the use of rickety vehicles which are often overloaded thus endangering the lives of its occupants and other road users.
He therefore urged for strong collaboration between the FRSC, the Vehicle Inspection Officers and other relevant government agencies to ensure reversal of this unhealthy development.
Part of the resolutions endorsed by the Council include the prioritization and optimization of road infrastructure funds, road safety, road transport policy, road construction and rehabilitation, surveying and mapping, in addition to the role of professionals (Engineers and Quantity Surveyors, Technicians and Artisans in the Works Sector).
The meeting of the National Council of Works also had in attendance, the Honorable Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Shehuri, House Committee Chairman on Works, Corps Marshal, FRSC, Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission, Commissioners responsible for Works matters in the States of the federation as well as regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.