Connect with us


Curbing Road Accidents During The Yuletide



People appear to be in unnecessary haste during this period especially drivers, hence they are tempted to over- speed, over-load and pay little regard to traffic signs and general road conditions resulting in more accidents.

Road accidents have caused the nation monumental loss of human and material resources. Many Nigerian families have been plunged into despair, hopelessness and sorrow as a result of sudden deaths on major roads, thereby throwing beloved oens in a state of despair, sorrow and hardship. This is particularly worrisome when the victims happen to be breadwinners.

Though road mishaps can occur at anytime or season, but experience has shown that more road accidents are recorded during the “ember months” particularly within the last two months of the year. Authorities attribute increased road accidents at this period to several factors.

The Commissioner for Transport in Rivers State, Hon. George Tolofari, while declaring open an ember months road safety campaign organised by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Port Harcourt recently attributed increased road mishaps during these festive months to attitude of drivers who display all manner of recklessness while driving on public roads.

While warming drivers against reckless driving, Honourable Tolofari argued that until road users, particularly the drivers tread the season with extra care and adopt a positive attitude while on the wheels, the problem of increased road accidents may remain unabated.

The Rivers State Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr. Osas Osadebamwen linked the trend to high human and vehicular traffic which creates several problems on the road.

“When you have high density of vehicles and humans, you are going to have more traffic problems. You are going to have more stress, you are going to have more need for patience from drivers and you are going to have more problems,” he stated.

On his own part, the Vice Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Chief Lawrence T. Williams attributed the development to unnecessary haste on the part of drivers. “People appear to be in unnecessary haste during this period especially drivers, hence they are tempted to over- speed, over-load and pay little regard to traffic signs and general road conditions, resulting in more accidents” he said.

The NURTW boss explained that people try to cover within one or two months what they were unable to cover in the past ten or eleven months.

Chief Williams also said that some people had to very negative mentality that the problem was spiritual and that during the period most accidents that occur have spiritual undertones which could not be avoided.

“But we keep telling them it is not true. If it is negative, it is due to how you approach it or what you believe in. As far as we are concerned, ember months are beautiful months, festive months and time of the year when people can give account of their stewardship for the year and thank God for His blessings. So people should remove that mentality and be positive,” he advised.

Worried by the high incidence of road accidents during the season, the Federal Road Safety Commission has taken some proactive steps to reduce carnage on the roads.

The state sector commander told The Tide on Sunday that apart from the ember months special patrols which he said are nationwide, his command was involved in the Eld-el-Kabir and the Sallah special patrol and also launched its own baby idea tagged “Rivers Road Safety Corridor.”

“Within these three programmes, we are able to take charge of the traffic problems. I assure you that we are going to have smooth traffic situation during the Sallah  celebration, Christmas period and the new year.  We are particularly going to make sure in the new year, we will not have the kind of problems we h ad in the past,” he assured.

Mr. Osadebamwen also disclosed that several awareness campaigns had been carried out by FRSC in the state, stressing that stakeholders in the transport sector were also involved, and expressed the hope that if those concerned continue to do the right thing as being preached, the high incidence of mishaps on the roads in the state which occur during festive periods would be drastically reduced.

“Garages, commercial drivers, transport union executives, staff of the Ministry of Transport and owners of driving schools amongst numerous other stakeholders were not left out in the FRSC campaigns for safety on the roads during the festive periods.”

The Sector commander maintained that such campaigns which also involved school children and media men were part of the mitigating measures put in place to check road mishaps.

He said that in Rivers State, what we really have at the moment is not high rate of road accidents as such but traffic jams and noted that his command would continue to work assiduously hard to bring the situation under control.

Issues as overloading,  state of the vehicles, over speeding, driving against traffic, dangerous overtaking and the use of safety or seat belts were emphasised in the campaigns. Believe you me, if the drivers can take extra care of all these, the target would be achieved,” he remarked.

He disclosed that the sector command had concluded plans to organize a new campaign on  December 3, 2009 to bring under control, traffic difficulties and accidents on the roads in the state.

He decried the general high level of indiscipline on the roads by drivers which he said often pose great challenges to the command.

“Some drivers won’t obey the electronic instructions of traffic lights, the issue of traffic jams which we experience is not traffic violation per se but it is a problem that results from high density of vehicles and humans compounded by disregard to traffic regulations,” he maintained.

On the part of driving schools, the sector commander said driving schools were being streamlined so that their operations would be standardised.

“In an attempt to streamline their operations, we insist that every driving school must have the minimum requirements as stipulated in our guidelines. We need more driving schools in the state. We are not going to close them down but assist in ensuring that they operate strictly according to the rules,” he stated.

He also advised passengers to call any commercial driver who is driving recklessly to order. “If your driver is over speeding, overloading or overtakes dangerously, you have the responsibility to call him to order and at the nearest checkpoint, report to our men and they will take actions.

Probably, the need for passengers to take active participation in the drive for safety on the roads has become more imperative since reckless ones among them may not die alone in case of an accident.

Unfortunately, some passengers are known to have encouraged the drivers to over-speed  or overtake carelessly simply because they want to arrive their destinations in time while some helpless ones watch even when their lives are equally in danger.

Reacting to the issue, the Rivers State Chairman of Driving Schools Association, Chief Samuel Ogba attributed the problems on the road to display of ignorance by some commercial and private drivers who did not pass through genuine driving schools in the society.

He said for any person to be qualified to drive on Nigerian roads, such a person was supposed to have passed through  a recognised driving school, stressing hat if not the person could not observe the necessary regulations guiding traffic.

“But what we see these days are people who are trained by their husbands or friends who did not pass through the normal training. They buy their cars and the next few days, they are on the roads causing all kinds of frustration for the public,” Ogba said.

He commended the FRSC in the state for its efforts in streamlining the operations of driving schools.

Chief Ogba who last year raised alarm over the operations of unregistered driving schools said at present, the new sector commander of the commission in the state had taken stringent measures to bring sanity on the road.

He called for new legislations on the operations of driving schools by the law making arm of the government so that the place of driving schools would be regarded.

He regretted that the carelessness of some quack drivers and operations of driving schools have led to the loss of several lives and properties in the society.

Safety Manager, Rivers State Road Transport Company (RTC) Mr. Jembarimiema J. Harry most of what we call accidents on the road are not accident per se but avoidable situations that resulted in the wrong attitude to traffic rules and regulations.

He said apart from holding regular safety meetings with drivers and conductors in his company, as the Safety Manager, he makes it a point of duty to be at work as early as 5.00a.m before the first motor takes off to check the safety state of the vehicles, the state of the driver and the loading capacity since these are issues that can lead to accidents on the road.

In some manner, the Manager of Sam-Jaja Transport Service, Mr. Pekins Jaja who spoke to The Tide on Sunday said his company has held meetings with the Director, management staff and drivers on how to approach the season.

According to Mr. Jaja, drivers have been warned to reduce the normal speed limit because of eventualities occasioned by the season which he described as a season of haste and desperation.

“Drivers must maintain speed limit, not over load. The state of the vehicle must be checked and certified by the company’s safety officer and driving under the influence of alcohol is totally unacceptable by our operational standard,” he said.

“Apart from the drivers, reactionary centres have been put in place for travellers to enable them relax so that the journey would be a happy one devoid of any form of desperation because experience has shown that disagreement between desperate passengers and drivers also lead to accidents and avoidable quarrels. “ he added.

One issue that bugs the mind is the existence of many sales points for alcoholic drink in the parks. All known public parks in the state have enough supply of alcohol and other intoxicants. This situation brings to question the possibility of maintaining the no drive no drink stands of both FRSC and transport unions.

The FRSC Commander, Rivers State Sector, Mr. Osadebamwen who also reacted to the issue said his Command was working with Parks and garage people on the ban on alcohol in the parks especially during this festive season and assured strict compliance.

But the Vice Chairman of NURTW in the state, Chief Williams blamed the local authorities over the continued sale of alcohols in the public parks.

He said “the management of parks are in the hands of local government authorities; they give out stores and we have little or no power to control them. Ordinarily, e would have wished that the ban be totally complied with.”

The transport union boss appealed to the various local government councils to joint he drive by ensuring that those they give the stores in the park strictly adhere to the order for the safety of the masses.


Chris Oluoh

Continue Reading


NPA Pledges Safe Navigation Of Vessels On Warri Pilotage District



The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured navigational safety for all stakeholders operating legally in the Warri Pilotage District, despite the urgent need for breakwater reconstruction.
This is just as NPA pilots enabled the safe berthing of inbound vessels – MT Zonda and MT Stellar as well as outbound vessel MT Duke, MT Vardar and MT Igbinosa last week with six vessels at anchorage outbound and inbound for Bonny Island, Koko and Escravos.
NPA stated that although the Escravos breakwaters constructed to prevent the siltation of the Warri channels had collapsed decades ago, it has concluded the survey and mapping of the channel.
The authority also noted that it is at the conclusive stages of securing relevant approvals for the best financing option to fund its reconstruction and has put measures in place to ensure safe berthing of legally operating vessels in the spirit of trade facilitation.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the up-to-date local and international training as well as simulation and maneuverability competence building of the highly experienced pilots of the NPA, have ensured zero incidences of vessels running aground.
Bello-Koko said the authority had procured and installed adequate buoys for the Warri channel and realigned the entrance buoys as well as docked and reclassified vessels.
He said the authority has also stipulated frequent simulation training and retraining for all the pilotage crew to enable them to respond to the exigencies of the channel.
According to him, the occasionally reported incidents of vessels running aground cannot impede the channel, as they are vessels operating illegally without NPA’s marine pilot onboard.
He said the vessels ran aground because they veered off the channel and safety-marked areas due to incompetence.
Bello-Koko said to enhance domain awareness capability to detect and frontally keep illegal vessels at bay, the authority recently awarded consultancy for the installation of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) across all its port locations with the first phase already completed.

Continue Reading


Most popular toys in 2018



Every year some toys emerge as popular among children across all ages. These toys are considered a “must have” by most kids and are often on their Christmas wish list. The year 2018 is no different with some toys making it to the favorite list of most children. Most times, the toys vary in terms of size, color and design giving kids a chance to choose the ones that appeal to them. Nevertheless, it is essential to start your shopping early to get the best deals without having to stretch the available funds.

What to look for when buying toys in 2018

Apart from having your kids’ preferences in mind when purchasing toys in 2018, you should also check if they are suitablefor children.Some of the things you should consider when buying toys are listed below.

  • Age of child – Most toys have a label that indicates the age of the child that is allowed to play with them. Ensure that you read the label before buying a toy, so that gets all the benefits meant to be derived from using it. Age-appropriate toys contribute to the development of children, making it vital that they get the right type of plaything.
  • Safety – Majority of the favorite toys can be a great addition to your child’s collection in 2018. However, it is essential to check the toys for corners, sharp edges, and harmfulpoints which might not have been mentioned on the warning label. Toys that are easy to dismantle and have loose parts should also be vetted to see whether they are appropriate for the child. Focus on buying toys that cannot lead to injuries and are durable for different kinds of play.
  • Affordability-The price of toys vary from one store to another, with some being cheap and others quite expensive. When going shopping, have a budget that will guide the quality and quantity of toys that you can purchase for your children. You can consider buying one expensive toy that is their favorite and adding others that are low cost to achieve a balance.
  • Versatility –Toys that can only be used for a short time or appeal to children of a specific age group may not be the best ones to buy for kids. Go for toys that can be used to entertain and educate the child over a long period without them getting bored.
  • Durability –Most children, especially toddlers enjoy picking apart toys as a way for them to explore its workings. It is therefore vital to buy toys that made from sturdy material, and all their parts are screwed on tightly so that they are not easily spoilt. Also, ensure that paint used on the toys do not easily peel off and are non-toxic.

Top 6 favorite toys in 2018

The number of toys launched in 2018is many with several appealing to both boys and girls of different ages. Some of the toys that have been ranked as favorites this year include:

  • LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit

The game is designed to resemble Hogwarts Great Hall Building in the popular Harry Potter movie. It is 878 pieces which when arranged reveal the Great Hall which is a famous building in the film. Some of the pieces that stand out are the treasure room, spiral staircase, and potions room. Popular figurines are also part of the set with characters such as Nearly Headless, Nick, Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasely, Hagris, Draco, Professor NacGonagall and Susan Bones among others.

  • Barbie Care Clinic Vehicle

Barbie has been part of the favorite toy list for many years, and in 2018 she is in charge of a mobile clinic. She has a twenty piece set that includes a gift shop, exam room and waiting room which are used to tackle emergencies of varying magnitudes. The ambulance in the collection has lights as well as siren sounds that are turned on using a button which is quite exciting for kids who are three years and older.

  • Paw Patrol – Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck

Kids that love the Paw Patrol cartoon will enjoy playing with the truck whose sounds, and flashing lights keep them entertained. The truck has a Marshall who sits in the cab looking out but can also jump into the fire cart when they need to rescue animals. The extendable ladder and working claw are fun to use to save animals stuck in trees.

  • Smart Learning Home

Fisher price has always focused on making playtime fun for babies for many years. In 2018, they introduced a toy that helps small children learn about the weather, numbers, and shapes. The interactive toy also has sounds, music, and lights to keep your baby entertained. To find out more about interactive toys for babies, visit

  • Sesame Street Lets Dance Elmo

Elmo is loved by many children that have interacted with him and his friends on the Sesame Street show. In 2018, he is dancing and grooving to different types of music, making him an excellent toy for children working on their motor skills. The toy has musical modes namely songs, colors and animals which gives kids a variety to choose from. When the modes are changed, Elmo begins to wiggle, or dance and the color on his heart begins to turn as well.

  • Radio Flyer busy buggy

Toddlers that are active and always on the move will enjoy having this ride-on toy. The carriage has several features that make its fun to ride over short distances. Some of the fancy features that make it one of the most interactive toys in 2018 include an adjustable dashboard, horn, moving windshield, and sliding beads among others. Active youngsters get to develop their motor skills as they cruise within the home while adjusting their reflective mirror.

Overall, no matter the choice of toys you buy for your children, ensure that they are educational, fun and safe.


Continue Reading


CRFFN Registers 5000 Freight Forwarders




More than 5,000 freight forwarders have so far registered with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) in its on-going membership drive.

The CRFFN Director (Education and Research),  Mr Alban Igwe,  told our correspondents  on Thursday in Lagos that the initiative was part of efforts to re-organise the freight forwarding business in Nigeria.

He said that freight forwarders, who failed to register with the council, would at the end of the exercise be regarded as fake businessmen.

According to him, the council plans to enforce its operational code which allows only registered members to practise.

“The registration, which started last year, is on-going. The enforcement, which should have started already, will start shortly as soon as all logistics are on ground.

“We have a tribunal that will try all illegal freight forwarders and any forwarder found guilty will be sentenced.

“Education of freight forwarders continues because over 70 per cent involved in the business do not have more than school certificate,” he said.

Igwe said that the association had concluded plans to conduct intensive training across the country in line with the provision of the Act that established the council.

He said that education remained the key role of the CRFFN in assisting freight forwarders to acquire professional skills and knowledge.

Igwe said that the council had signed memoranda of understanding with 10 training institutions to facilitate achievement of this objective.

The CRFFN Director also said that the training programme had made it possible for interested freight forwarders to acquire PHD degrees, stressing that the era of quacks had gone.

Continue Reading