The failure of truck drivers to comply with safety standards in the process of latching containers has resulted in incessant accidents, killing scores of Nigerians on the roads, a safety expert, Julius Ugwala, has said.
Ugwala, who expressed worries about the incessant deaths resulting from lack of public safety measures in Nigeria, urged the Federal Government to prioritize safety measures across various sectors of the economy.
He lamented that the disasters that led to loss of lives and properties in Nigeria could be avoided. Ugwala, who is also Nigeria’s Chief Diving Inspector-elect, in an interview in Lagos, described the issue of empty containers frequently falling on Nigerian roads as a major public safety challenge that is yet to be addressed by the government.
He said: “When you look at trucks laden with containers traversing the country, there obviously is a need to improve their operations with regards to how they convey the containers. There is a need to improve the safety measures because such containers have killed innocent citizens in their vehicles and pedestrians. As a country, we don’t have a programme to check this menace, and there is no measure to safeguard Nigerian citizens. These accidents occur almost daily in port cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, yet there is no procedure to curb them, even though they are preventable.”
Noting that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has stipulated standards for trucks doing business at the ports, he called for serious enforcement of the standards.
Ugwala also stressed that digitalization should also be explored to improve public safety with regards safeguarding crucial documents and data.
“Some of the documents allegedly stolen at NPA could breach the nation’s safety or the positions of some individuals at NPA. We are in a digital world and things need to be done in a digital manner.”
His words: “Public safety is actually essential to everyone irrespective of your place of work. It is essential if you work in the oil sector, other aspects of shipping, and it is also essential at home. We should all endeavour to be careful because one person’s mistake could endanger a great number of people.
“For instance, if someone is storing several gallons of fuel in his apartment close to you; you should be concerned for your safety irrespective of your relationship with him or her. A possible fire outbreak from such activity could lead to the loss of several lives and you might be a victim. These are issues of public safety but it is sad that no one discusses these issues at the presidential level.”
According to him, the #ENDSARS protests, which was hijacked by hoodlums, was another example of lack of preventive measures for public safety in the country.