By Lamidi Bamidele
ONEÂ of the common features of the road construction and rehabilitation efforts of the present Lagos State government is the introduction of road signs, including zebra crossings to aid the flow of both vehicular and human traffics.
Many people, especially pedestrians particularly regarded the zebra crossings as a welcome development since their presence would afford them the opportunity of crossing traffic-busy roads safely. For them,Â the importance of the zebra crossing could not be over-emphasised, especially on traffic-busy roads withoutÂ pedestrian bridges.
However, it will appear that the joy of having these zebra crossings in place is already fading even before the culture of using them can take root. This is due to the now obviousÂ flagrant disobedience of Zebra Crossing signs by most motorists in Lagos.
Investigations by Vanguard Metro reveal that on approaching a Zebra Crossing, mostÂ motorists are so impatient that they zoom past at a dangerous speed with scant regard for pedestrians who may be passing by at that point in time. In fact, most pedestriansÂ now dread using zebra crossings since they have come to the realisation that only very few motorists deign to slow down or stop on approaching one.
This situation, some observers attribute to ignorance on the part of most motorists who it is believed do notÂ understand what this sign stands for on our roads.
According to Mr. Adekunle, a cab driver: â€œMost motorists donâ€™t obey the signs and I donâ€™t think most of these people parading themselves as drivers know the meaning of the sign.Â How would they know? The driving licences which are supposed to be collected after series of driving tests, including the ability to identify and know functions of road signs, are brought to them right in their bedroomâ€.
A Police constable, Theophilus John was also of the view that motorists donâ€™t usually obey the Zebra crossing.Â He said: â€œHaving a driving licence does not mean you are a good driver.Â Most of the time, pedestrians usually wait endlessly expecting motorists to show some level of understanding of the sign.
Although I am not aware of any law against motorist who purportedly fail to stop for waiting pedestrians, but it could be a very grievous offence if any pedestrian is hit while trying to cross on the Zebra crossing signâ€.
This reporter, also on a participatory observation, had a first hand experience of this while waiting with some other pedestrians at Strabag Bus-stop along Murtala Muhammed Airport road. After waiting for about five minutes, we resorted to waving and pleading before we were able to cross right on the Zebra crossing.
On his own part, a motorist, Mr. John Atolagbe said he has vowed never to stop for any pedestrian to cross whether there is a zebra crossing sign or not.Â â€œI have sufferedÂ while trying to be a good Samaritan.
I usually stop to let pedestrian cross on zebra crossing until one day at Ilupeju when a motorcyclist suspected to have been drunk just hit my car at the back smashing the rear light. On many other occasions, danfo drivers shout at you when you stop to allow pedestrians cross.Â Please, our drivers need to be more educated on this issue,â€ he stated.
Group tasks govt on extrajudicial killings
A non- governmental organisation, Access to Justice, has called on the Federal Government to investigate the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the Boko Haram sect.
Making this call in Lagos, the organisation noted with dismay,Â the systematic, summary, arbitrary killings in the country.
Executive Director of the group, Mr Joseph Chuâ€™ma Otteh, who spoke at a workshop on â€œExpanding Individual Rights and Social Justice in Nigeria Public Interest Litigationsâ€, called on the Yarâ€™Adua administration, to immediately institute a credible inquiry into the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, even as he condemed the administrative probe the President has set up.
â€œWe cannot condone extrajudicial killings, because while the Federal Government saysÂ that it is committed to entrenching rule of law and enhancing the respect for human dignity, at the same time it is condoning illicit executions,â€ he said.
The group, consequently,Â called for the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the killings in Borno, Yobe, Kano and Bauchi statesÂ which should be headed by a serving or retired Judicial officer.
He also called on the Police Service Commission to suspend all the policemenÂ involved in the reported killing of Mohammed Yusuf and others killed in questionable circumstances. It also urged the new Inspector General of Police to demonstrate his disapproval of extrajudicial killings in the force and position the force towards a new culture of respect for human rights and dignity.
ASUU strike: Idle strokes for students
University students in Lagos as in other parts of the country are presently seething with anger and frustration at being kept at home against their will courtesy ofÂ the long-drawn strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) and they do not hesitate in giving vent to their grievances.
Folashade Oyekanbi, a student of the University of Ibadan(UI) said she is fed up of the prolonged strike and is presently at a loss on what to do to while away the time at her disposal everyday. On her part another student of UI, Nike Ademowo is franticallyÂ Â looking for a part time job.
â€œThis ASUU strike has almost put me out of my mind. I never knew it was going to last this long. Everyday one is at home doing nothing. And itâ€™s not as if I prefer to be idle; I have been looking for a part time jobÂ for a long time now but I have not been successful so far.
I donâ€™t care who is right between ASUU and government, but my wish is that they should settler their quarrel and let us get on with our studies,â€ she appealed.Â Â For another student by name Edward Ijeh: â€œThey say an idle mind is the Devilâ€™s workshop. The fact is that this strike has rendered most university students idle.
And where this is the case you cannot rule out the possibility that some of my fellow students would have taken to crime out of frustration. I feel frustrated myself but the grace of God has so far sustained me and prevented me from doing what I ought not to doâ€.
Tope Oladeru, a student of Olabisi Onobanjo University shares the same sentiment, saying that ASUU and the Federal Government should endeavour to resolve the crisis between them so that students can go back to school. He added that he is unable to read his books at home because there are a lot of distractions.Â â€œItâ€™s frustrating and we are fed up with the whole thing. Help appeal to them(ASUU) to listen to the Federal Government. Already some of my friends have turned to sex hawkers although their parents do not know about thisâ€.
Rep gives free GCE forms, tutorials to 200 residents
A member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai representing Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency, has provided free educational support to 200 pupils resident in the area. The support includes the procurement of General Certificate of Education forms for the October/November 2009 examination as well as organising free tutorials to the beneficiaries of the scheme.
As contained in a statement made available to Vanguard Metro, Akinderu-Fatai said the free tutorial programme is offering all inclusive lectures in the fields of science, commercial and arts. He noted that the programme is in line with the Action Congress ideology in making qualitative education available to the people.
According to him, the GCE forms were distributed to beneficiaries in seven wards within the constituency.Â He said: â€œOver 200 pupils are currently attending the free tutorial class at Oshodi Model Primary School, Oshodi, where they are preparing them for the forthcoming GCE examination which comes up between October and November this yearâ€.