FACT-CHECK: Are okadas responsible for over 10,000 accidents in Lagos?

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Okada riders in Lagos (Photo Credit: Business Hilights)
SUMMARY:

Mr Omotosho claimed that “From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone.”

Data from FRSC and NBS show that, within the same time, the state recorded 1,644 road accidents, leaving 462 dead. Moreover, nationwide, cars are the number one vehicle involved in the recorded cases; not motorcycles as FRSC data showed.

Full Text

The Lagos State government said weeks ago that motorcycles (okadas) and tricycles (keke) contribute to most accident deaths on Lagos roads, justifying its ban of the two popular means of transportation.

Known for its incessant traffic snarls, both okadas and kekes serve as alternatives for commuters in Lagos State to escape the full extent of the state’s jam.

Last week, the state government, through its commissioner for information and strategy Gbenga Omotosho, said these alternatives, especially okadas, are claiming more lives and are the cause of a lot of road accidents in the state.

“This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as at date,” he added, referring to accidents caused by these alternatives.

The state’s chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, in an interview with Dubawa, the fact-checking site and PREMIUM TIMES’ sister organisation, also buttressed this position.

“If you see the number of at the hospitals you will be shocked and all of this is Okada. We had to create an Okada ward,” Mr Akosile said over the phone.

But are motorcycles the cause of most deaths resulting from road accidents in Lagos State? And, while killing over 600 people, has the government recorded over 10,000 accidents in the state in three years?

Verification

DUBAWA contacted Mr Omotosho who verified the quote. He, however, declined to provide the source of his claim.

 

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) keep the records of road accidents in the country. The two institutions have collaborative data on road traffic accidents that are up-to-date to the third quarter of 2019.

In 2016, the FRSC’s quarterly road traffic report places traffic mishaps at 444 in Lagos state. Data from the NBS corroborates this figure as well. The figure breakdown accounts for a death toll of 165 as well as 971 injured.

In 2017, recorded cases dropped to 425; 892 people injured and 113 dead. The following year featured another drop with 356 cases, leaving 772 people injured and 100 dead.

The figure increased in the first three quarters of 2019, as a total of 419 cases occurred; of which 721 people suffered injuries, and 84 died.

An overstatement

Cumulatively, from 2016 to September 2019, stats show a total record of 1,644 cases of accidents in Lagos State, resulting in 3,818 casualties. This figure is the sum of 3,356 injured people and 462 that died from the tragedies.

Thus, it stands to reason, evidenced by the foregoing, it is wrong to say… “10,000 accidents were recorded in the state in three years,” and that this has caused “over 600 death cases.”

Automobiles not bikes

This aside, different vehicles are responsible for the cases recorded over the years. And while there is no state-by-state breakdown of accidents by vehicles, motorcycles did not cause the most mishaps. Rather, cars are responsible for most of the accidents.

 

For instance, in 2016, while cars were responsible for 34 per cent, motorcycles were responsible for 20 per cent of the accidents nationwide. Minibuses took 18 per cent of the blame.

In 2017, the share taken by cars remained 34 per cent while minibuses reached 20 per cent and motorcycles dropped to 19 per cent.

What is a fatality?

Bisi Kazeem, spokesperson of the Federal Road Safety Corps, told DUBAWA the data quoted covers all accidents on all federal, state and local roads, reported to them. He further said they collaborate with relevant agencies, including hospitals, to come up with the data.

This platform asked if the records counted as dead correspond to those who died on the spot and those who died in the hospital, Mr Kazeem said:

“We do what is known as hospital check-up. If an (accident) happens today, after 30 days, whatever happens to the (victim) if he dies, is still classified as fatality — we still count it.”

This metric leaves room for several discrepancies ranging from the care given to a patient, existing medical conditions and other unseen factors. Hence, this suggests that the records could in actuality be less.

Conclusion

Lagos State government claimed over 10,000 road accidents have occurred in the state in three years, killing over 600. But, data from FRSC and NBS show that, within the same time, the state recorded 1,644 road accidents, leaving 462 dead.

Also, nationwide, cars are the number one vehicle involved in the recorded cases; not motorcycles, FRSC data showed. FRSC also said it works with hospitals and other agencies to follow up on victims of road mishaps before counting them as dead.


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