By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN — COORDINATOR – GENERAL of the Save Accident Victims of Nigeria, SAVAN, Dr. Eddy Ehikhamenor, yesterday, in Benin, Edo State, said that no fewer than 7,850 people died in road traffic accidents between January and October 2010.
According to him, more than 27,000 people sustained various degrees of injuries within the period under review, adding that the figure might be higher, as not all accident cases were reported to the police, hospitals and the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC.
Ehikhamenor, who spoke on the “Role of the Stakeholders in Management of Road Traffic Accident in Nigeria,” at a one day workshop for commercial motor cycle riders (Okada), lamented that over 90 percent of reported accident cases in the country involved Okada riders.
While against the banning of commercial motorcyclists from the roads, he called on the government and agencies involved in transport management to immediately commence the education and re-integration of Okada riders on their roles on the highways, insisting that banning them would be like throwing the baby away with the bath water.
Saying that Okada riders were often the first people to arrive at the scene of accidents, he said that the commercial motorcycle riders should be given education on how to administer first aids to accident victims.
The Coordinator –General of SAVAN while disclosing that most commercial motor_cycle riders have one medical ailment or the other such High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Seizures (Epilepsy) eye problems among others, he canvassed medical checks up for them before they are allowed to drive on the highways.
He also called for the establishment of a Data Base for commercial motor_cycle riders to ascertain their blood groups, their educational levels, locations and previous occupations before they took to commercial motor_cycle driving.
According to him, “by the time we do this, the rate of criminality among them would be reduced or minimized. But when you say, lets ban them, what work are they going to do in a country where the unemployment level is very high”?
He advised commercial motor_cycle riders to be safety conscious, saying that in Nigerian hospitals there may be no space for the even in the mortuaries if they die due to their own carelessness.
Over 70 crash helmets were distributed freely to the commercial motor_cycle riders during the workshop.