By Remi Adebayo
Driving safely is the responsibility of all road users, especially tanker and truck drivers to prevent making their spouses widows or their children orphans for other people with peculiar domestic challenges to raise the families they left behind.
Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi gave the charge on Wednesday while speaking during the sensitization programme to educate tanker and trailer drivers on safety during the ‘Ember months.’
The event which held at the NNPC Depot at Suleja, Niger state was organized by Proedge Ltd, an Abuja-based public relations firm as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives towards saving lives during and after the much dreaded ‘ember’ months.
Represented by the ACM, Federal Operations, Asst. Corps Marshal Adegoke Adetunji, the FRSC boss cautioned the drivers while speakiong on the theme of this year’s ember months campaign which centres on ‘night travel and speeding’.
“Firstly, consider your family when you drive. When you travel, they want you back at home. Nobody can represent you like you want; nobody will pay your children’s school fees when they have their own children to pay for. So, I’m appealing to you, always consider them when you’re driving,” Oyeyemi appealed.
On the dangers of travelling at night, the Corps Marshal reminded the drivers that night travel could be thrilling due to limited vehicular number on the road, he however reiterated that nature cannot be cheated, saying a little doze could cause regrettable occurrence within seconds.
“God, while creating the world divided it into night and day; day is meant for work and we are supposed to sleep at night, but when you drive at night, nature will take its toll. Even the law requires that when you drive during the day, you must park and rest after four hours’ drive.
“The roads may be free at night, but the body demands rest at night. Work during the day, rest at night,” Oyeyemi added.
On overspending, Dr Oyeyemi emphasized that speeding is thrilling but that it kills. “I want to beg you, in line with the theme of this year’s campaign to avoid night travels and over-speeding.”
He cautioned drivers of heavy vehicles to always remember that other road users are similarly entitled to the roads, and cautioned against threatening other road users because of the size of their vehicles.
The FRSC boss commended the drivers for turning up for the event, he said drivers are important to the nation, but further urged them to conduct themselves responsibly at all time by keeping personal good health, maintaining their vehicles regularly and also by avoiding parking on the road to endanger the lives of others.
In his goodwill address, Manager of Suleja NNPC Depot, Engr. Abubakar Mohammed appealed to the drivers to bear with the government on the state of the Nigerian roads.
Mohammed said government loves and cares for all drivers and road users, but he appealed to them on the need to understand with the Federal Government in particular.
He noted that huge financial requirements were needed to meet the infrastructural deficits across the country, including roads.
The Depot Manager commended the tanker and trailer drivers for shelving the earlier planned strike action and reassured that government will continue to intervene with necessary assistance to address their concerns.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief Consultant of Proedge Ltd, Mr. Tajudeen Kareem emphasized that the purpose of the gathering was to key into the broad policy of the FRSC on continuous sensitization of road users.
Kareem noted that although the roads are not all in good state, but human errors on the part of road users, particularly trucks and tanker drivers as well as fleet operators still constitute major concerns to protect fatalities, especially during the ‘ember months.’
“Government cannot muster enough resources to maintain all the roads at the same time, but we must be conscious as drivers to pay attention to peculiarities of the roads and in playing our part as road users,” the media mogul said.
He added that the event was not a one-off, but one that will be conducted always and replicated across the country for interaction with road users.
Reacting, participants commended the organisers and the FRSC for the educative event; they however appealed that road safety officials should always consider them with lesser sanctions each them they suffer vehicular breakdown.
They explained that the amount they were always asked to pay often put so much financial burdens on them.
The event had representatives of drivers unions in attendance; among them; the Unit Chairman, Petroleum Tankers Drivers, (PTD), Alh. Nma Mustapha; Chairman, Suleja/Abuja unit of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN), Alh. Yahaya Ahman Alhassan and the unit Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Comrade Hassan.
Deputy Corps Commander, Deputy Corps Public Education Officer, FRSC, Mr. Charles Edem alongside other top functionaries of the FRSC accompanied ACM Adetunji to the occasion.