The Federal Government has directed relevant government agencies to ensure that tankers and trailers which fail to comply with minimum safety measures should not be allowed to ply the highways, henceforth.
This was even as the Lagos State Government has accused the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Shippers Council of Nigeria, of conspiracy on enforcing regulations on the stipulated tonnage allowed by tankers/trailers.
In the same vein, the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Jerry Alagbaso, has put the blame of poor road maintenance on the N25 billion debt being owed contractors.
Also, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, disclosed that Nigeria lost N7.1 billion to road traffic crashes, involving tankers, in the first quarter of 2018.
In the same vein, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator Tijani Kaura, has called for stiffer traffic regulations against articulated vehicle operations; so as to reduce the number of crashes on the highways.
All these were espoused at the one-day Stakeholders’ Forum on Haulage Transportation in Nigeria, convened by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The forum deliberated on how to tackle rising cases in road traffic crashes involving tankers/trailers in the country, with attendant loss of human and material resources.
The SGF said the decision to convene the summit stemmed from the deep concern of the federal government on the rising spate of road traffic crashes involving articulated vehicles, in recent times, and high casualty in both human and material resources.
While speaking on the directives, Mustapha identified disobedience of traffic rules as major causes of road accidents on the highways and decried the recent incident on Otedola Link Bridge, where over 55 vehicles burnt down and 12 people died, as well as different degrees of injuries on innocent lives.
He assured stakeholders that government will set up an inter-ministerial committee to ensure full implementation of the directives, to check the menace.
The SGF noted that nothing much has been achieved despite the plan of action marshalled out at the 2015 National Summit on Tankers and Trailers Haulage Operations to deliberate with key stakeholders predicated on four pedestals – standards, enforcement, institution’s capacity and legal.
Lagos State representative and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Taiwo Salami, insisted that there is conspiracy between the NPA and the shippers council when 98 percent of the traffic going to the Port are caused by haulage vehicles going to drop only containers.
Salami said the vehicle involved in the Otedola bridge incident carried three times its capacity; instead of 15 tonnes, it was carrying 60 tonnes.
Alagbaso, who blamed poor road maintenance on the N25 billion debt being owed contractors, called on government to release all funds being owed FERMA; to enable them clear their debts to contractors.
On his part, Oyeyemi blamed crashes on the road to the fact that 90 percent of transportation in the country is done by road, as well as none adherence to transport regulations, compromise by operators and non-compliance with standards.