Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has berated Nigerians on road use. According to him, Nigeria roads became dealth traps because road regulations were not obeyed. The Minister, who spoke at a one-day public enlightenment on developments in the road sector, said that what wouldmake anation to be prosperous, wascomplianceonlaws and regulations. He stated that road construction were all over the country, adding that the usage of those road would determine how long they would last.
Emphasizing on none adherence to road regulations, he said “all over the world, one common thread of prosperous societies is their level of compliance with laws and regulations. “So, in those societies, you will see trucks parked in proper parks, which creates jobs, and not on the highways, which impede access and opportunity.
“In those societies, you will see trucks carrying specified tonnage of cargo because it protects the road, and allows for it to be used again and again.”Therefore, while the temptation to overload and carry more with one truck, against regulation and good practice may be appealing, it is ultimately a barrier to prosperity. “Such practices may provide cheap and perhaps corrupt riches and income, but they do more damage to the roads from which the cheap income is made.
“This means that in the short run, the road is lost, the opportunities diminishes or are lost totally or they become very expensive to access until the road is rebuilt. “The expense and cost to all of us, when the road is damaged by misuse or abuse, manifests in longer travel hours, more fuel consumption, expensive delivery of goods and services which every member of the community, including transporters have to bear. “This is not what we want. The process to change this has begun with the construction of roads but it will not be complete unless we embrace change.
“We must now hearken to our President and some common sense by resolving from this day to change ourselves, about how we use our roads and transport infrastructure. “Our Ministry is convinced that voluntary compliance by stakeholders takes us further and nearer to the prosperity that is beckoning; and this is why we convened this meeting before the process of enforcement commences.”
The Minister highlighted the importance of the meeting and good use of roads as he said: “Our Economic growth, National productivity and job opportunities will be impacted by the conclusions and resolutions of this meeting. “For example, how do we optimize the opportunities that lie in road networks like Trans-Saharan highway that connects Nigeria to Chad, Niger, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria; the Lagos- Abidjan Highway through Benin, Togo and Ghana, or the Enugu- Cameroon Highway through Abakaliki – Ogoja , Ikom and Mfum.
“For the benefit of those who may be unaware there are now existing treaty obligations within the West African sub region and beyond that regulate the amount of load any goods vehicle can put on an axle and by extension on the road in order to do business within ECOWAS and beyond. “Our compliancewiththese regulations will open a massive door of opportunity and prosperity of cross-border trade to Nigerians engaged in the transport business.” Also speaking, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) commended the ministry for the programme.
He said the public enlightenment for stakeholders ahead of the Federal Government plan to commence enforcement of the regulations was a step in the right direction. He said the commission arrests an average of 200 vehicles daily for excessive overloading, adding that the enlightenment would enhance the operation of FRSC.