The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha, has warned motorists and other road users against vandalism of road furniture in the country.
Mustapha gave the warning at the official commissioning of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Signage Plant, Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday.
He said that apprehended vandals of road furniture would feel the full weight of the law for offences such as placement of bills, destruction or defacing of other types.
“No one will be spared of deliberate attempt to cause the death or maiming of another citizen.
“Accordingly, all law enforcement agencies are to look out for vandals and ensure that they are brought to justice,” he said.
He noted that before the advent of the current administration, many of the nation’s highways were either without road signs and signals while those that had were inadequate.
The situation added up to the recorded rise in road traffic crashes in the country as motorists traversed the country’s highways almost in blindness.”
The SGF recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to the United Nations Convention on Road Signs and Signals to ensure safer roads across the country.
“The accent instrument which was presented to Chief of the Treaty Section of the UN, Mr Santiago Villalpando in New York recently thus ensured that Nigeria became the 78th UN member nation to so accent.”
He said that there was a multilateral treaty designed to increase road safety and aid international road traffic by standardising the signing system for road traffic use internationally.
Mustapha further said that this had eased road global travels through unrestricted or barrier induced interpretation of signs or signals.
“This action significantly demonstrates the focus of the current administration as it views road death and injury as economic growth destabilisers that must be tackled through diverse approach.”
He called for more partnership between the FRSC and the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to open new vistas beyond them and incorporate all other stakeholders to make Nigeria highways safer for all.
Mustapha said the signage plant was the arrow head of government’s rejuvenation of the country’s standard road signage and signaling system to help create order on our highways.
“I admonish FRSC and the ministry to constantly carry out robust monitoring and evaluation of the impact from time to time to guide government road transport policy and ensure that the nation does not derail from this task that it has set for itself.”
He also called on state governments to use only standard road signs on their roads and to procure them from FRSC signage plant so as to make the standards doubly sure.
“Government will also ensure that all road contractors were adequately mobilised to complete the various projects at hand so as to ensure that the highways were safe for travels.”
In his remark, FRSC Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, said road traffic signs were major components of road network that enhanced communication between the roads and users.
Oyeyemi said for road signs to be effective, they were expected to be free from any form of ambiguity in terms of interpretation and understanding of the messages they conveyed.
He said based on a research conducted by the corps in 2014, it found out that the nation’s highways were characterised by improper signs and signals leading to confusing motorists than aiding them among others.
The corps marshal said the plant had been able to produce about 6,000 various signs which were already installed on some segments of federal highways with testimonies of their quality and effectiveness by motorists.
“Motorists are already enjoying this commitment and like every good thing elevating human dignity, Nigerians are asking for more.”
On his part, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola said Nigeria had a landmass of about 924, 763 square kilometers with a population of over 200 million.
Fashola, who was represented by Director Highways and Planning in the ministry, Mr Chukwuwike Uzo, further said that the estimated vehicle population of the country was about 12 million plying a road network estimated at 200,183 kilometer.
He explained that the place of road transportation to the socio-economic development of every nation was very paramount, stressing the need to ensure safer roads.
“This project aligns with the vision of President Buhari at ensuring improved life for every citizen,” he said.
Also, FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello, said the plant would enhance the industrial profile of Gwagwalada Area Council.
He said accidents occurred by combination of factors including human behaviour, condition of road and condition of vehicles, adding that accidents were caused mostly by human factor.
“It is important that FRSC should work on human behaviour by enlightening users on the need to obey traffic signs.”