Okwe Obi, Abuja
As the festive season approaches, a nongovernmental organisation, the UN-Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention (UN-DARSIP), has embarked on a campaign to encourage safe driving on roads to avoid accidents.
National Focal Person of UN-DARSIP, Dr. Syndey Ibeanusi, who led the campaign, in Abuja, with the themed ‘Roads have stories, for happy endings, lets improve road safety,’ lamented that Nigeria loses more than half of its annual budget on road crashes every year.
Ibeanusi revealed that Nigeria can increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by reducing road crashes which is caused by human and environmental factors.
He further noted that countries such as India and Tanzania have recorded tremendous increase in their GDPs by reducing road crashes in their country.
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His words, “Development depends on getting road safety right, it has happened in other countries, India was able to increase her GDP by 22% by ensuring that they reduced road crashes by 50%, even Tanzania have been able to do that, they increased their GDP by 7.2%, it can be done in Nigeria.
“We lose more than our annual budget, every year on road crashes, if for instance our annual budget was N8.3trl this year, we lose more than that every year on the roads from road crashes both from the people that died and the survivals who are unable to work and of course the indirect consequences are huge with people losing their breadwinners with huge social consequences.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Greenlight Initiative, Simon Obi noted that over 1.3 million people die annually due to road accidents which according to him equates the population of some countries in the world.
“Over 1.3 million people die every year as a result of road crashes which is like the population of so many countries.
“We are here to remember those who have die and those permanently injured and to also create awareness on the dangers of rough driving, not forgetting to encourage the government to fix the roads,” he appealed.