The year 2022 was marred with deaths caused by road accidents due to bad roads in Niger State.
As at August this year, Niger State recorded 334 road accidents, with 212 of 2,168 People involved who died in the accidents. The sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) Mr. Kumar Tsukwam, disclosed that in the year under review the number of auto crashes is more than that of last year by 26 per cent, as only 308 auto crashes were recorded in 2021.
The sector commander notes that as a total, 1,901 people were involved in auto-crash in 2021. However, by this year August, 2,168 people were involved in auto-crash with 212 deaths as against 229 last year ending.
Tsukwam said that 461 vehicles were involved last year and 439 are involved this year so far, with 22 per cent decrease in the number representing a 4.3 percent decrease compared to last year.
The sector commander listed the cause of accidents to include: speeding, tyre burst, using of mobile phone while driving, overloading, route violation, fatigue and wrongful overtaking, but refused to identify the bad state of the road as a constant variable and the major cause of road crashes.
The federal government has awarded four road project contracts that are ongoing, yet the pace of work is slow and has no significant effect on the roads. For instance, contract for the dualisation of the Minna-Suleja road has been on since 2010, but has not been completed. The road has claimed several lives with motorists left to their fate.
Just recently, a ghastly accident led to death of no fewer than 12 persons in the headquarters of Agaie local government area of Niger State. It was learned that the fatal accident involved a vehicle going to Lagos from the Northwestern part of Nigeria. The vehicle was trying to manoeuvre its way through a bad part of the road when it met it’s tragic fate.
A driver, Aliyu Umar, said the most devastating road to pass through is Bida -Agaie, Mokwa -Bokani and Minna-Bida road. Another commuter, Joseph Auta, said most of the federal roads needed attention, he says “Even Minna -Tegina whose contract was recently awarded need more expeditious attention.” A resident of Agaie, Nuhu Tanko, said “We live in perpetual fear as tankers explode frequently along the route in a bid to dodge potholes.”
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has joined other stakeholders to prevent disasters on roads during the Christmas season across Niger State. Head of NEMA, Minna Operations Office, Hajiya Zainab Sai’du, explained that Operation Eagle Eye was a support initiative by the agency to the first responder in road emergencies similar to the Federal Road Safety Corps.
It is as a result of the bad roads that NEMA is presently working to reduce fatality, with residents hoping that most parts of the roads are given emergency repair this dry season as we usher in the new year 2023.