Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has inaugurated Kaduna State Road Safety Advisory Council (SaRSAC) to give guidance on a cohesive and efficient system to enhance overall safety.
Inaugurating the 21-member council, which will be chaired by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, he said the advisory council would set state road safety targets and ensure coordination between states and local governments in achieving them.
The governor said that SaRSAC was to strengthen the giant strides that his administration has made towards enforcing traffic laws and returning sanity on the state roads.
El-Rufai recalled that his administration developed the State Transport Policy in 2017, which gave rise to the establishment of the Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Agency (KASTLEA), the Kaduna State Road Agency (KADRA) and the Kaduna State Transport Regulatory Authority (KADSTRA).
“The Kaduna Urban Renewal Project is addressing the issues of safer mobility through massive road expansions and upgrades across the state to meet with global best practices and eliminate attendant hardship encountered by motorists as a result of bad roads,” he said.
The governor promised that government would provide all the support necessary to ensure the success of the advisory council.
‘’We will work together to achieve a new and higher level of safety on our roads in line with Global standards,’’ El-Rufai added.
He recalled the National Road Safety Advisory Council was inaugurated in February 2017 by the Vice President and each State was directed to inaugurate its own council.
According to him, the council is “to ensure zonal coordination to make inroads towards the success of the Councils. I myself represent the North-West zone on the National Council’’.
The governor lamented that road safety data indicated that more than 1.25 million people die on the world’s roads and tens of millions are seriously injured every year.
“This includes the toll on our young people, with road traffic crashes identified as the number one killer of young people aged 15–29 and the eighth leading cause of death among all people worldwide,’’ he said.
El-Rufai noted that “each year, developing countries lose between one per cent and three per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) due to medical costs, productivity losses and other expenses resulting from deaths and injuries on the road, which is more than most of them receive in development aid.
‘’To respond to this, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 64/2551 in March 2010, declaring the Global Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2010 to 2020.
“More recently is in February 2020, via Resolution 74/299, a second Decade of Action from 2021 to 2030 was proclaimed.
“The new proclamation stated a new target to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50 per cent by 2030,’’ the governor added.
In his Remarks, the Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Kaduna state, Hafiz Mohammed, said the Nigeria Road safety Strategy (NRSS) 11 was designed to promote the application, including road infrastructural safety feature, vehicle safety features, travel speed, crash impact consideration and responses to prevent fatal and serious injuries.
Mohammed, who is also a member and Secretary of SaRSAC, made case for proper education for road users and training of drivers.
“To achieve these targets, there is need for combination of activities of the state road safety advisory council by the Technical Working Group (TWG) to be composed of technocrats and professionals from both the federal, state and private sectors,” Mohammed said.
This TWG, he said, shall be meeting at regular intervals to render progress being made on each of the five pillars of UN Decade of Action and render reports to SarSAC for consideration and action .
He said there should be quarterly Zonal Technical Working group meetings as part of the responsibility of Kaduna state being the coordinating State in North West to review Nigeria Road Safety strategy.
Mohammed therefore appealed to El-Rufai to approve a budget for the running of secretariat and coordinating the activities and programme of SaRSAC and TWG.
“We should be mindful of the financial resources necessary for the successful outcome of this programme.
“However, huge opportunities lay in harnessing resources from not only Federal Government, but also the organised private sector and multilateral development and donor agencies as major sources of financial support,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SaRSAC is to promote the application of safe system approach of five pillar matrix of road safety management.
The matrix also include road infrastructural safety features, vehicle safety features, travel speed, cash impact consideration and responses to prevent fatal and serious injuries.
It also emphasises on road user education and driver training.
NAN reports that five state commissioners of Justice, Health, Education, Finance, Environment, State Planning Commission are members of the council.
Others are the commissioner of police, Nigeria Society of Engineers, NURTW and NARTO, among others. (NAN)
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