Auto crashes on the Bauchi-Maiduguri Road and the Bauchi-Kano Highway last year alone claimed 293 lives while 1,267 others were injured.
A breakdown of the figures obtained from the state command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) showed that the deceased comprised 196 male adults, 61 female adults, 17 male children, and 19 female children.
The statistics further revealed that in the months of November and December 2019 alone, 85 people died in various road accidents on the two federal highways and other roads in the state.
The most fatal of them occurred along the Bauchi-Kano Road in November, where 28 lives were lost in a head on collision between two vehicles in Gubi Village, a few kilometers from Bauchi metropolis.
The figures also showed that in March 2019, 28 people died, followed by April, 27, August 23, July 21, and January had 20 deaths.
The months of May, September, February, and June recorded 19, 13, 12, and 10 deaths respectively.
The injured persons, according to the data, indicated that the month of December recorded the highest with 207 people sustaining various degrees of injuries followed by November with 154 victims.
In October 2019, 153 people were injured followed by January with 144 while April, August, and September recorded 133, 114, 94 respectively.
We Need N600,000 For Signposts To Curb Accidents – FRSC
A senior official of the FRSC confirmed that a total of 1,267 people sustained various degrees of injuries from January to December on the affected highways in 2019.
The official who sought anonymity attributed the causes of the accidents to over speeding, sharp bends on the roads, which, he said, needed to be regulated to reduce the crashes.
Although FRSC is a federal agency just as the roads concerned are owned by the federal government, the official said that in the organisation’s efforts to address the menace, it wrote a letter to the state government recommending the need to use technology to reduce carnages on the major roads in the state.
The letter was allegedly presented to the deputy governor during a courtesy call by the FRSC.
According to him, the state government was yet to respond to the request. He, however, said that pledges were made by the state to commit certain resources on the project when it received the FRSC’s request.
The official said: “We wrote a request to the state government to get their support so that we will install eagle-eye devices, especially on the Bauchi-Kano Road and the Bauchi- Maiduguri Highway” which he described as the deadliest in the state.
The official stressed the need for the installation of signposts on some of the roads with sharp bends, adding that the FRSC only required four signposts at the cost of N600,000.
He said: “The signposts will be mounted on crash-prone areas and each costs about N150,000, so if you multiply that by four, it will stand at N600,000 only.”
The FRSC official could not ascertain if that amount had been sent to the federal government through the Ministry of Works for necessary action
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) said that its members were worried about the high rate of accidents recorded in the state in 2019.
The chairman of the NURTW in Bauchi Central Motor Park, Abubakar Mohammed, who blamed the federal and state governments for the crashes on the roads, said: “We try on our part to ensure that our drivers are properly scrutinised to ascertain their qualifications before we allow them to carry passengers and we always encourage the passengers to report to us any driver who exhibits any act of misconduct while on the road.”
A motorist, who plies the Bauchi-Kano Road on regularly, Sani Habu, called on the government to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to address the problems.
He said: “I think if the government is serious about these accidents, they will drastically reduce because it’s the only government that can regulate and manage these kinds of problems”, he said.
A driver who does not want his name in print said that his colleagues have their share of the blame for the auto accidents on the roads.
“The truth is that some of us are very reckless; we ply the road as if we are competing with one another, our recklessness and over speeding are usually the causes of these accidents,” he said.
Also, Manu Buba, a driver who plies the Bauchi-Maiduguri Road said that “our governments are not serious with the plight of the masses” as he asked how much it would cost them to construct dual roads and reduce the rate of the accidents?
“The truth is that governments do not care about our lives, since their officials are flying on air, to hell with the masses that don’t have the means to board to travel by planes,” he said.
LEADERSHIP made calls and sent text messages to the commissioner for Information, Ladan Salihu, to confirm if FRSC made any request for financial assistance to the state government, but he did not respond to them.
The director, press affairs to the deputy governor, Rabiu Bello, said he was not aware of any courtesy visit to his principal by the FRSC.
The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, could not be reached at the time of filing this report because he was said to have travelled out of the state.