By Chris Ochayi, Abuja
A total of 280 people have been reported dead from various road traffic crashes that occurred in the nation’s highways between December 19 2012 and January 4, 2013.
Corps Marshall and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr. Osita Chidoka who disclosed this to journalists at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on his arrival from the final air surveillance of the traffic situation under the Operation Zero, said about 1,600 people were also injured from over 480 road traffic crashes recorded within the period.
Mr. Chidoka who noted there was improvement in rate of road crashes during this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations compared to the previous year, attributed the success recorded to improved monitoring mechanism and current strength of the staff in the Corps.
According to him, “from December 19, 2013 till today, we had over 480 road traffic crashes. It was an improvement over last year. We had about 1,600 people injured and we had about 280 dead arising from these crashes, between December 19th and today, so compared to last year there is a slight improvement and we hope this improving trend will continue.”
He said, “this is my final surveillance of the Operation Zero that we had from December 19, 2012 to date. The operation continues, it will terminate in another four days there about. So what I have done is to take a look from the Eastern part of the country.
We went through Enugu-9th Mile-Lokoja-Gwawgalada and then the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. And the traffic is moving freely. Our efforts in managing the traffic have been very successful in this year’s Operation Zero, coupled with the fact that the roads condition is virtually improved. So it was a very good outing for us.
On how would the air surveillance really help to check movement on the roads, he said, “well, for those of the journalists who joined us on the air surveillance, they will explain that better to you because there was no way I could have monitored five locations in one day. With those that I went with, of course,we land in Onitsha, we land in Lokoja and we were able to give them the ideas of what was happening because we can get the best eye view of the road and then advise them appropriately on what to do.
He said: “in the last ten years, the FRSC has successfully brought down crashes within the December period year . And this is another year that we have successfully brought down crashes rate. In terms of our enforcement activities, over thirty six thousand vehicles were stopped and only about thirteen thousand were booked for various road traffic offences, the rest twenty six thousand were cautioned and allowed to proceed on their journey.
“About thirteen thousand were booked and one person was sent to prison by a mobile court and about three hundred and seventy were fined for various offences. Twenty five were discharged and acquitted by the mobile court. So all in all this has been a very good outing. In terms of travel times for those who travelled this year, many of them are commending the activities of the FRSC and praising that we have made it possible for them to get to their destination in time.’’