The Senate on Tuesday lamented the rising cases of road accidents across the country and suggested ways the carnages could be curbed.
A senator, Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) called for the prosecution of reckless drivers who cause road accidents.
He made this call while contributing to a motion on the “need to address the low level of literacy amongst drivers in Nigeria” sponsored by Umaru Kurfi (APC, Katsina Central).
Mr Kurfi called on relevant transportation agencies to ensure that Nigerian drivers in various sectors possess the necessary qualifications to make them employable.
He said that some Nigerian drivers lack the basic skills of reading and writing, describing it as a serious challenge.
He also attributed the alarming rate of road accidents to the recklessness and low level of literacy of the drivers as he said they have little or no knowledge of signs that guide the use of roads
He also expressed worry at the fact that for some drivers, ”it is a challenge to identify the various vehicle particulars assigned to their vehicle”.
“This has given rise to forgery and fake documentation of car particulars such as insurance etc. as most drivers are assigned the task of obtaining and renewing these documents.
“The high rate of road accidents caused by motorcycles popularly known as ‘okada’ is not news any longer. The use of okada has become such a menace that some cities in the country have gone ahead to place a ban on this means of transportation because it has created a lot of problems. It is appalling to note that these okada riders on closer scrutiny are children, some, less than 18 years of age, with very little or no education on the navigation and understanding of road signs and its application.
“Even though employers would normally ask for the basic qualification for employment of drivers, however, due diligence is rarely carried out to ensure that they have obtained these qualifications. The thoroughness and details applied in assessing a staff for employment for a higher level of office is usually absent when employment is made for positions of this nature,” he said.
In his contribution, Mr Abdullahi urged the Senate to look beyond the drivers’ ability to read and write but also focus on their behaviour on the road.
“Its almost as though we don’t have the capacity to apply the law. Accidents happen and we just hear the news. We don’t hear about the reckless drivers being charged for manslaughter.
“The Road Safety (FRSC) don’t stop and arrest reckless and drunk drivers. We need to look beyond the reading and writing and focus on the behaviour of these drivers on the road,” he said.
Also contributing to the motion, Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue) accused most drivers of several agencies of being violators of the traffic rules.
“Most of them don’t obey speed limit and traffic rules. Most of them are not educated enough to even know what road signs mean,” he said.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki ,subsequently urged the Committee on Transport to provide an oversight and ensure that the road safety and other agencies “carry out the necessary work.”
The Senate, thereafter, resolved to “mandate the Committee on Transport to summon the government establishments and other stakeholders responsible for safety on our roads to ensure that drivers employed in any capacity at all must possess the necessary qualification in addition to being able to read, write and communicate effectively in English language and must have also been tested on road signs application.”
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