By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma has cautioned drivers and cyclists against speeding above the recommended limits and disobeying other traffic rules, in order to reduce the rate of road traffic crashes to the barest minimum, especially in this ‘Ember’ period.
Governor Soludo gave the advice while speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the 2022 Ember Months Campaign of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Anambra State Sector Command, which held at Rivers Joy Motor Park in Awka, Anambra State capital on Thursday.
Governor Soludo, represented by the State Commissioner for Transport, Barr. Patricia Igwebuike, said his administration will construct over 10,000 kilometers of road in different parts of the state, and further revealed that a great percentage of the 2023 budget of the state’s budget is mapped for road construction projects, which, she said, will help to minimize chances of road traffic crashes and untold hardship suffered by road users in the state.
Barr. Igwebuike also warned those who carry children on the laps or with one hand while driving, to desist from such.
“There’s no need to have unnecessary road tragedy, where we can help ourselves to be alive,” she said.
Earlier in his address, the Sector Commander, FRSC Anambra, CC Adeoye Irelewuyi said approximately 1.3 million people die annually while average of six persons die every hour in Africa as a result of Road Traffic Crash according to World Health Organisation. He further revealed that Anambra State roads currently occupy 15th position on the list of death trap roads in Nigeria, which he said, should not be allowed to continue.
“Consequent upon the above, the choice of 2022 Ember Months Campaign Theme “AVOID SPEEDING, OVERLOADING AND UNSAFE TYRES TO ARRIVE ALIVE” is apt and inclusive to cover the “3” RTC main causative factors which include speeding, overloading and use of unsafe tyres,” he said.
“To combat these RTC causative factors, the Anambra State Sector Command stepped up public enlightenment activities in motor parks, church advocacy programmes, Print and Electronic media campaigns, traffic controls, ‘Beyond the Road’ campaigns, strategic engagement programmes and patrol enforcement activities across the state. Also the Sector Command trained about 1,500 Neighborhood Rescue Teams (a.k.a first responders) in all the 21 Local Government Areas to assist in Rescue efforts,” CC Irelewuyi added.
Also speaking, the Zonal Commanding Officer Zone RS5 Benin (in charge of Anambra, Delta and Edo states), ACM Chukwuma N. Njoku, said Ember Months’ Campaign is a home-grown operational approach evolved by FRSC to mitigate the traffic challenges associated with increased human activities and vehicular movement in the country. He added that the concept was designed to improve road safety and traffic management from the month of September through December each year to the second week of the following year.
“The obvious characteristics of the Ember months period include high travel rate, high volume, speeding, overloading, driving with unsafe tyres, drunk driving, etc.,” he said.
Contributing, the Traditional Ruler of Awka kingdom, H.R.H. Igwe Gibson Nwosu, represented by a member of the royal cabinets, Chief Nweze Okoli reminded the drivers and passengers of the need to always put on their seat belts (and not only when they see traffic wardens), avoid answering calls while on the steering, to always be patient, and to obey every other traffic rule applicable to them.
The event was wowed up by the Pastor in charge of the Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention Deliverance Ministry, Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanemere (popularly known as Prophet Odumeje), whose presence and magnetic charisma pulled more crowd to the venue.
Prophet Odumeje, while speaking at the event, commended the Road Safety officials for their works and commitment in saving lives, saying that their work of saving lives also has a close relationship with his work as a man of God, as he also saves the lives of the sick and prays for travellers. He further assured the Anambra FRSC of continued support and collaboration, warning drivers to desist from any action capable of causing road traffic crashes, especially in this period of Ember months.
The event, which attracted the state service chiefs, the officials of the FRSC and sister agencies in the state, the stakeholders in the transport sectors in the state, members of the National Youths Service Corps, and other anointed men of God and dignitaries, was climaxed by cultural dance, drama, and the cutting of the flag-off tape, to mark the official flag-off of the 2022 Ember Months’ Campaign in Anambra State.