...Residents, Road Safety worried over daily road crashes
...FRSC blames over speeding, poor visibility
By Charly Agwam, Bauchi
THERE’s palpable fear among many Bauchi residents over the rate of road accidents on Bauchi roads in the past four months. Scores of lives have been lost to road crashes with several others being severely injured.
Although there are no official statistics of people who have died in the past four months, a top-ranking official at the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, told Arewa Voice that no fewer than 40 deaths have been recorded in the month of December alone.
Zonal Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Zone 12 comprising Borno, Yobe and Bauchi states, Assistant Corps Marshal, Rotimi Adeleye, stated that within the period no fewer than 128 passengers were involved in accidents. “I want to state here that within the last three weeks, we have lost 40 people on our highways. And these 40 people consist of just about five crashes. Fifty-eight were injured, while 128 people were involved in these crashes.
“You will recall that on December 18, we lost eight people on Dass-Bauchi Road and that was just about four days ago in one single crash. On the newly commissioned road about two weeks ago in the Azare axis, within an interval of 30 minutes, we lost 20 people. Four people were on a motorcycle and they ran into a vehicle and we lost them. After 30 minutes, on Kano-Jama’are Highway, we lost 16 people when a commercial vehicle ran into a truck and it caught fire and all the occupants died,” he said.
So many lives and families have been impacted by the ceaseless road crashes. There are incidents of fire outbreaks as a result of head-on collision of vehicles as well as gory pictures of passengers burnt in accident vehicles.
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For Mrs. Diana Esky, a teacher whose son died in a car accident along Bauchi-Jama’are Road while on his way to National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, orientation camp in Jigawa State, her life will never remain the same. Narrating her ordeal, Mrs. Esky said her son died on the floor in a Jigawa hospital, regretting that had her son been attended to, he would still be alive and pursuing his dreams.
She said: “My husband has been down with stroke in the past eight years. But I summoned courage and broke the news to him. I told him that Matui had been taken to the General Hospital in Dutse, Jigawa State and I would be going there. He tried to stop me from going because it was already getting late. He said I should wait till the following day but I told him that anxiety would not let me sleep.
“I set out for Jigawa with one of my neighbours. My neighbour phoned one of her sisters who works in Jigawa and asked her to go to the hospital to see Matui’s condition. While on our way, we kept communicating with my neighbour’s sister. When the woman got to the hospital, she told us that my son was still alive but was unconscious. She said my son and the others were not getting any medical care. She said they were just dumped on bare floor in the hospital and that she saw the driver who had a fracture on his shoulder and it was the driver’s father that brought in someone from outside the hospital to fix the fracture.”
Expectedly, many residents worried by the spate of road crashes on Bauchi roads told Arewa Voice that they were scared to travel. Some non-indigenous people in Bauchi said that they would defer their journey to a more convenient time when they could travel without fear.
A trader in household items, Comfort Itiyi, said she had plans to travel to Benue for Christmas but had since changed her mind following the incessant accidents on Bauchi roads. Her words: “We planned to travel to our hometown for Christmas but we will not be travelling anymore. The road is very bad. I cannot risk my life and that of my family on the road. It is painful because we did not travel last year and the year before. We had hoped that after planning and saving up money to travel home this year, we will be able to celebrate with our extended family at home.
“My kids are not finding my decision funny but I will not bend. If something happens, what will I console myself with? See what is happening; everyday people die on Bauchi roads. We do not know what is happening, but we will wait to avoid problems. We will travel on a later date. It is better late than never.”
Meanwhile, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Bauchi State, Yusuf Abdullahi, while expressing sadness over the high rate of accidents on Bauchi roads, blamed poor visibility occasioned by the harmatan and over-speeding for several avoidable road crashes that have claimed the lives of innocent passengers.
He said: “The highest cause of these accidents is over-speeding and night journey. Because most of the crashes occur in the night, and with the current harmatan, you know visibility is poor. It is sad that even when some drivers cannot see very well, they still over-speed. There was this accident that occurred on Sunday night along Dass-Bauchi road; it occurred because an Opel Vectra overtook a vehicle and had a head-on collision with a truck.”
“Another one occurred along Azare Road, where a vehicle ran into a moving trailer. Everyone in the vehicle died. In the accident that happened a few days ago along Darazzo, a Sharon car rammed into a stationary trailer that was parked by the road due to high speed. The road signs are available but because of over speeding drivers do not obey them. Where there are no road signs, I enforce red flags to warn drivers ahead of danger. Nevertheless, we will keep sensitising the drivers. Every morning, we go to the motor parks to talk to them. I will keep advising drivers to avoid over speeding and reckless driving,” the Road Safety chief said.