The US has described Nigeria as an indisputable leader in Africa, a friend and a key partner of the US.
In a statement issued by the Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, on the occasion of Nigeria’s National Day yesterday, the government congratulated Nigeria and its people on the nation’s independence anniversary.
Pompeo said: “I would like to convey warm wishes to the government and people of Nigeria on the 58th anniversary of your independence. Nigeria remains a key partner and friend of the United States.
“Through its strengthening democracy, its dynamic economy and the great entrepreneurial spirit of its people, Nigeria is a leader in the region and beyond. We count on Nigeria to continue its leadership through free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in 2019.
READ ALSO Oil inches to $85 as Iran sanctions loom
“The United States offers our continuous support to Nigeria in its efforts to expand trade and investment, counter terrorism, ensure regional stability and tackle corruption.
As you celebrate the anniversary of your independence, please know that the people of the United States celebrate with you.”
Nigeria, a former British colony, gained Independence on October 1, 1960.
Meanwhile, Total Nigeria Plc yesterday attributed accidents caused by oil tankers in Nigeria to illiteracy among tanker drivers, ageing equipment, substandard tank construction and low quality of road infrastructure.
Total’s Management System for Transport Manager, Mr. Ajibola Alaga, made the assertion when members of the Major Oil Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) visited the Total Truck Drivers’ Training School and Inspection Centre in Ibadan.
Alaga said that in aggregate terms, 120 major tanker accidents had been recorded since 2014, comprising 94 rollovers, 16 collisions and 10 fires.
While on a tour of the school’s facilities, the manager said the oil firm and other MOMAN members understood the sensitivity of transporting petroleum products across the country in tankers.
He said the company was committed to bringing on board global best practices in ensuring safety of lives, property and the environment.
“Twenty-five per cent of tanker accidents on Nigerian roads are as a result of errors from other road users, while 21 per cent of the accidents are linked to drivers of the trucks.
Mechanical fault in the vehicles constitute 18 per cent of accidents; speeding, 16 per cent; fatigue, eight per cent and the environment, eight per cent.
Dangerous overtaking constitutes three per cent and security issues one per cent,’’ the manager said.
On the major risk factors in petroleum products’ distribution via road networks, Alaga said: “The behaviour of drivers largely because of an over 90 per cent dearth in training is one factor.
Others are aged equipment; substandard equipment like truck heads; substandard tank construction of manholes, valves, among others. Low quality of infrastructure like roads, corridors, road signs, among others, are areas we have identified.”
Alaga said the second phase of the training school, which is the Track Centre, was underway, adding that construction work had commenced, adding that Total Nigeria had installed two high-tech driving simulators at its Truck Drivers Training School and Inspection Centre in Ibadan and its head office in Lagos.
The manager said this was to enhance the skill of drivers and promote safe haulage of petroleum products across the country.
“These moves are part of its commitment to improving road safety with the broad objective to replicate and model real-life driving conditions.
“This will aid the building of safe driving practices and culture among truck drivers in the country. The simulators will serve as active training tools to prepare drivers for the management of unpredictable hazards that may occur while driving, such as collision avoidance,’’ Alaga said.