Professionals task govts, stakeholders on habitable cities
Issue of livability status of anyone goes beyond building and construction of basic infrastructures, as poorly managed infrastructure like road is tend to collapse and the attendant result takes tow on a well-planned city.
PROFESSIONALS in different fields have called on the governments to enforce road use laws in the country, which is considered critical to the sustainability of cities and habitable environment.
They have equally urged various road users to desist from wrong use of roads, urging the need to keep to all prescribed rules and regulations on the use of roads.
They spoke last week in Lagos during the 3rd Biennial Breakfast Session, organised by a real estate firm, Propertygate Development and Investment Plc, Lagos.
All the speakers, one after the other spoke on the anarchy on our roads and near absence of enforcement of road use laws.
When our roads are not efficiently managed, there would be traffic gridlock, which has great impact of the real estate business, says Chief Executive Officer, Propertygate Development and Investment Plc, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi, said.
Listing some of the bad road habits, Ajayi noted, among others, driving against traffic, not observing traffic signs, improper use of lanes, for example, use of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) by unauthorised commuters, ignoring slow lanes and fast lanes precautions, trailers not taking to approved lanes, driving at the wrong time of the day, parking at non designated spots.
Others include not giving way to traffic, improper maintenance of vehicles leading to breakdowns/accidents, stopping at wrong points on the road and pedestrians like street hawkers encroaching unto the roads and so on.
“With the current use of our roads”, Ajayi, who said achieving liveability status was still a far dream for our cities in Nigeria, added that “it is a notorious fact that lawless behaviour ranks as a major contributor to the hardship experienced on our roads”.
Asking why enforcement of proper road use was still a tall dream in Nigeria, Propertgate Chief charged government at all levels to rise to the occasion and ensure that relevant regulations are enforced, which if done, would boost real estate value and the living condition of Nigerians.
From the town planner’s perspective, Mr. Kola Olayiwola, who noted that there was a poor enforcement regime relating to road use management, road user and the utilization, as well as maintenance of ancillary facilities, called for immediate steps towards improving the current conditions.
According to him, governments should come up with driving policy, planning regulations and framework and policy formulation that
would enhance sanity on Nigeria roads.
In his paper, by Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Sector Commander, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, said road transportation provides benefits both to nations and individuals by facilitating the movement of goods and people from one point to the other.
“While using the road, motorists and other road users are faced with several challenges which is hampered by drivers’ attitude and behavior. Road crashes recorded are often man-made owing to the fact that most drivers and other road users involved in these crashes are either ignorant of proper road use act or deliberately exhibit an act of recklessness.”
According Omeje, “Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day, with substantial numbers injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 18-44. Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2 percent of all deaths globally.
“It’s the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second among young people ages 5-14. Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.”
Prescribing way forward, Omeje said government should be more responsive to creating good roads/repairs where necessary, adding that there is need for traffic laws and regulations, not bias in its approach and implementation. He also advocated for an impartial research and development on road safety issues.
Publisher, Castle Magazine, Mr. Dipo Davies, said that although there are laws on road uses in Nigeria, but lack of political will to enforce traffic offences, politically connected offenders almost inevitably get away has been one of the banes of effective road management.
Other factors inimical to good road uses, according to Davies are an overlap between Federal and State legislation, leading to clashes between the agencies of the two tiers of government, internal feeder roads are often not monitored, leading to gridlocks on major roads.