For countless times, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) as the agency of the Federal Government responsible for road administration in Nigeria has continued to warn travellers against embarking on night journeys.
The warnings have often come as a measure towards reducing the number of accidents that occur at night and the attendant loss of lives in such circumstances.
Gone are the days when Nigerian roads were safe for journeys both in the day time and night. Those were the days the roads were free from pot holes and large scale failed portions. Those were the days the number of vehicles on the road was fewer than what obtains now. Those were the days we had well trained drivers who understand road safety rules and abide by them. Those were the days kidnappers, bandits and gunmen were absent on our roads.
Though, yester-years were the days of ‘high way’ robbers who occasionally ambushed night travellers, yet their existence was not as troubling as what we now have because gunmen with penchant to spill blood have taken over the roads.
One of the reasons FRSC as road administration agency continues to warn against night journeys is the fact that in the event of any vehicular accident or attack on the travellers by any group of criminal elements, the chances of survival in such circumstances are slimmer than incident that occurred in day time.
On countless number of occasions, some vehicles have had accident that got their passengers trapped in the wreckage with little or no assistance coming from other road users since it is difficult for any one to render assistance at night for reasons bordering on poor visibility, uncertainty about the safety of any helper and so on.
Some passengers whose lives would have been saved were it to be day time had bled to death in such circumstances. Even when some other road users could stop to assist, the uncertainty of locating any nearest medical facility or medical personnel becomes another issue.
We still have in our memory the incident that occurred some years ago when passengers of a South-East bound bus blocked on the road by armed robbers were all brought out to lie face down on the road after being robbed. Another on-coming articulated vehicle on night journey as well, accidently ran on top of the passengers killing many of them in the circumstance. Such could not have happened so easily if it were to be day time because the on-coming vehicle would be able to see ahead the human beings lying on the road.
We had a recent case where a night passenger bus broke down on Benin-Ore road. The passengers left the bus to hide and sleep outside the incident area. On their return in the morning to pick their luggage from the vehicle, they were surrounded by kidnappers who had laid ambush. That incident claimed the life of Mr. Olajide Sowore, a younger brother to SAHARAREPORTER Publisher, Omoyele Sowore. Olajide; a pharmacy undergraduate of Igbinedion University was driving across the incident scene that early morning when the kidnappers shot him.
There are so many other incidents involving loss of precious lives during night journeys. Now, we are in the ember months when the volume of passengers travelling at night would always increase on various routes as they make effort to boost their business activities prior to Christmas festivities.
Statistics from the Federal Road Safety Commission reveal that a total of 5,574 persons lost their lives in road accidents in 2020 even with the Covid-19 lockdown. The Commission observed that no fewer than 50% of the accidents occurred at night irrespective of whether the roads were familiar or not. Besides the death, thousands of other passengers were injured in the various crashes. In the first quarter of 2020 alone 3,947 road crashes had occurred.
The lesson in all of these is that a good number of the nation’s population is being carelessly wasted through deaths that could have been avoided. In spite of several awareness programme often embarked upon by FRSC on the dangers of careless driving and overspending, faulty vehicles, drunkenness of some drivers etc, many commercial drivers and other road users have often paid less attention to such safety campaign.
The indifference to FRSC safety campaign becomes more worrisome when it has to do with night journeys as more lives are likely to be lost during night accidents.
As concerned corporate citizens, SECURITY REPORTERS.com wishes to join the FRSC in campaigning for avoidance of night journeys on our roads for whatever reason. We implore travellers to take cognisance of the bad roads, insecurity in the country, carelessness of drivers, mechanical faults and absence of medical and other helps as factors that may work against them in case of any intended night journey on our roads.
We therefore advise them to plan their travels ahead of time and concentrate on day time journeys that guarantee more safety than night trips.