Nigeria is the most populous nation in the Africa with an estimated population of 140 million people according to the last census exercise conducted in 2007 by the National population Commission. It is however unfortunate to note that more than 2,000 people die monthly via road mishaps in all parts of the country.
These deaths are as a result of several factors which may sometimes be avoided by the road users. The death toll is evidently high during festive periods, as most motorist and travelers are always in haste to reach their final destinations.
Bad road network
The country has one of the worst road network in Africa which is obviously an embarrassing situation considering the wealth and resources at her disposal. A close study of most major highways in the country shows dilapidated stretch of roads with potholes dotting almost every kilogram of the highways.
The worst hit is the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which happens to be one of the most important links between several states in the country. This particular highway has claimed thousands of life due to its bad state. Successive Governments have made empty promises without any corresponding effort to repair or rehabilitate the road. The sight of broken-down trucks and vehicle has become a common sight on the highways.
Most drivers in the country are so impatient while they are on the road. The urge to beat traffic and overtake vehicles at dangerous bends can sometimes end in tragic loss of innocent souls. Persistent enlightenment by the Federal road safety commission has made little difference as reckless driving still exist on the highways.
Influence of alcohol and other stimulants
It is very common to see drivers converging in groups very early in the morning at major motor parks drinking local gin and inhaling marijuana or other stimulants. They erroneously believe that these substitutes can make them become more alert while on the road. This has however been proved to be false, as the negative influence of these illegal substance has led to fatal accidents on major highways in Nigeria.
Police road blocks
I was butly shocked some months back when I read the tragic death of seven persons as a result of an illegal road block mounted by the Nigerian police in Asaba, Delta State. The multiple accidents would have been avoided if the police had cleared the road of woods and other objects which had been mounted to prevent motorist from moving freely. Their aim of mounting these road blocks is purely for the purpose of collecting bribes from commercial drivers.
Ignorance of road signs
Most accidents in Nigeria are caused by a lack of sound knowledge on the part of driver regarding common road signs and rules. Constant enlightenment by the Road safety commission has however reduced the rate of accident due to wrong interpretation of road signs and most drivers are now getting used to the rules on the highways.