Unarguably, indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles and damaged vehicles on highways across the country has contributed to the rate of road accidents.
Concern citizens have, on many occasions, expressed dissatisfaction about the rate of accidents, especially those caused by such indiscriminate parking of trucks and other articulated vehicles.
They cite such parking in Benin Bypass, Obollo Afor, 9th Mile in Enugu; Ogere, Mowe, Ibafo, Sagamu in Ogun, Lokoja, Abaji (FCT) Etobe and Obajana, Kogi, among others, as examples.
They, therefore, suggest the building of modern truck transit parks as a way of controlling such indiscriminate parking and reduce congestion of vehicles and accidents on highways.
But before the outcry for such transit parks, the Federal Government has planned to develop transit parks at Lokoja, Obollo-Afor, Enugu, Ogere, Ogun, Jebba in Kwara and Port Novo Creek, Lagos State, as an alternative strategy to address truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and Port Harcourt.
Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi observe that these parks will complement the Ore Sunshine in Ondo State and the ones being processed by the Kaduna State Government at the Mararaban, Jos and Tapa on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
“The Federal Government shall ensure that truck transit parks will be independently developed by state governments and private investors to meet a minimum standard in the number of facilities provided at the sites.
“The Federal Government shall ensure that the parks are economic, creating wealth and employment for the teeming population,’’ he said in an event recently in Lagos.
Sharing similar sentiments, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, said if the activities of these big vehicles were not checked, they could become hazardous to the society.
Fashola observed that the absence of rail had accommodated articulated vehicles and other heavy vehicles on the highways.
He said although the activities of the vehicles had contributed to the nation’s economy, they ought to be well managed by building modern transit parks.
According to him, the construction of such parks, which will the first of its magnitude in Nigeria, is expected to be completed within the 2017 fiscal year.
Fashola said that when the park is completed, it would decongest the highways and improve economic activities.
He, however, advised that such parks should be replicated on major arterial routes and roads leading to neighbouring countries such as the Lagos-Badagry road, Benin border, Ikom-Mfum road (Cameron border) and Kazaure, among other border towns.
In his view, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said the building of modern truck transit parks had been the initiative of the council.
“There is much deficit in infrastructure and Nigeria will have to modernise its transport infrastructure. Now, we cannot afford articulated vehicles or trucks to park indiscriminately.
“That is why we said we could have a truck transit park. It is a modern way where we have parking spaces off the main way where you have fuel stations, gas stations, hostels, shops, and other facilities.
“It will reduce congestion; ensure the safety and security of cargoes and there will be trackers all over — a civilized way of doing things,’’ he said.
He said that the parks would also promote other transport modes to boost efficiency, competitiveness, safety and enhanced service delivery in the transport sector.
According to him, one of the facilities that will be used in parks is a device to check overloading in trucks.
Making clarification on the construction of modern transit parks across the country, Mrs Antonia Ekpa, Director of Road Transport and Mass Transit, Federal Ministry of Transportation, said it was in line with global practice.
She explained that the parks, also to be referred to as “Rest Stop’’ and “Truck Terminal’’, would provide guest houses where drivers could rest on transit, conveniences, filling stations and restaurants.
“When a tanker driver drives for a longer period of time without stopping, it usually results in accidents whereby trucks can fall and this has claimed lives and damaged goods on daily basis.
“It is important for a driver to find somewhere and park to relax and have access to conveniences,’’ Ekpa said.
For the success of the construction of the parks, Rep. Ovie Omo-Agege, Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, pledged the support of the National Assembly in in that regard.
He said the parks would go a long way in addressing problems caused by heavy duty vehicles on highways.
“The National Assembly remains prepared to provide every legislative support required to achieve the dream of the Buhari-Osinbajo administration for the transformation of the Nigerian transport landscape,’’ he promised.
Underscoring the importance of the parks, Dr Kassim Bataiya, National President, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said that if the parks were established, they would improve efficiency in haulage and increase returns on investment in the trucking business.
“The establishment of the parks will reduce man-hours spent in gridlock and in sourcing for cargoes by both dry and wet cargo truck owners.
“It will also improve the security of trucks and prolong the lives of drivers, as well as reduce the exposure of trucks to hijacks, robberies and extortion.
He said investment opportunities would also become massive if the idea of developing the parks was executed as planned.
He, therefore, commended the efforts of the Federal Government on the initiative and for revamping the nation’s rail system.
Elebiyo-Edeni writes from News Agency of Nigeria.
Pay Attention To Vehicles Carrying Scraps
To create wealth out of waste seems to have become an economic trend aimed at depopulating the labour market. This is no less a noble idea. As a result of this innovation, it has become a common sight beholding big trucks conveying scraps from one point of the town to another.
However, it smacks of security lapses should these scrap-ladden trucks be granted easy passage on the highways unchecked. This is because Nigerians can take advantage of such freedom to pass incriminating elements. This alone constitutes serious threat to our security .
In this era of insecurity in the country, the right thing is that every vehicle should be checked and certify safe before being allowed to proceed to its destination.
By: Philip Ejiogu, Owerri.
Take Coronavirus Seriously
Human nature generally is wont to trivializing issues which impact is not directly felt. When catastrophes are announced from afar, they either constitute a spectacle to be viewed by others and probably be amused by it, or a trend that attracts public discussion.
This has been the case with outbreaks of deadly diseases across the globe at different point in time and the attendant attitude of the people towards it. Today, the world’s attention is drawn towards Corona Virus, currently ravaging China.
Zoonotic as it was known, meaning normally transmitted between animals and people. The novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. For this novel coronavirus (nCoV), both zoonotic and person- to-person transmission has been confirmed.
At the moment, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), officially named as Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has spread to 26 more countries apart from China, alarming public health authorities across the world.
A total of 69,256 (including 68,566 in China, Hong Kong and Macau) confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection including 1,669 deaths (one each in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and France) have been reported across the world.
As at yesterday, out of the 68,566 confirmed cases in China, 11,272 are reported to be severe cases.This is indeed, a public health emergency of international concern which further international exportation of cases may not be ruled out in any country.
Thus, even though no strict travel or trade restriction is recommended based on the current information available, the possibility of interrupting spread is still high should countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and threat cases, trace contacts and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. The Public Health Emergency Operation Centres (PHEOCs) already established in 22 states of the federation would be tantamount to an effort in futility if they are not worth their raison d’etre.
By: Helen Peterson, Bonny.
Release Students’ Results On Time
The issue of delaying the release of students results in our tertiary institutions has become a case to worry about. Some students hardly know their academic performance status until late. Some have had to carry over courses for semesters and sessions unknown to them.
This has caused victims staying longer years in school remedying courses that ordinarily they would have sorted out earlier, had they known about it in good time. Those with plans to change their course of study after one year of academic activities, miss this process because results are not released as expected.
Schools’ examination results that were hitherto published on departmental notice boards as prompt as possible to enable students know their status in good time and decide on what next plan to take to better their academic performance, is gradually becoming history.
The most alarming is that even upon graduation, instead of releasing final year students’ examinations results promptly, lecturers take more than enough time to submit their marks and care less about the implication of the delay on the students.
Truth is that this trend has robbed many victims the opportunity of proceeding for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) like their colleagues in other institutions. Many of our graduates lose opportunities for job elsewhere because their schools failed to release their results on time.
Some who missed the privilege of procceeding for the compulsory one year national service, due to delayed result, end up being cut off by age, and are eventually subjected to asking for NYSC exemption letter if they must proceed in their chosen careers.
In the light of the evil this emerging trend portends to the society, it is imperative that stake holders in education, nip it in the bud before more havoc is wreaked
By: Timothy Njoku, Umuahia.
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