The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye oyeyemi, has advocated the activation of intermodal transport system in Nigeria to support national development efforts.
He said overdependence on road transportation puts unnecessary burdens on the road and undermines national developmental efforts.
Oyeyemi stated this in a paper he presented at the 57th Conference of the Association of Nigerian Geographers, held at the Multi-purpose Hall of the University of Lagos.
According to him, the role of transportation in the economic, political and social development of any nation cannot be over-emphasised, noting that transportation connects all human interactions.
“It is understandable, given the fact that it is the sector that connects all other sectors of the economy,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal stressed that transportation links other factors of production in a web of relationships between producers and consumers to create a more efficient division of production, leverage geographical comparative advantage, and provide the means to expand economies of scale and scope. While expounding the importance of transportation to the socio-economic activities of people, Oyeyemi noted that transport has continued to affect the economic development of mankind from the beginning of human civilization, adding that economic development focused on the confluence of transport systems indicates why early cities grew up on natural bays and ports, and on rivers and lakes where transport was available. “Romans built roads to unify and provide access to their far-flung empire,” he noted.
Oyeyemi further noted that Geographic characteristics such as proximity to oceans, seas, and waterways, plains, mountains and the location of oases defined early transport systems. He added that due to intensive use of infrastructure, transport sector is an important component of the economy and a common tool for development, arguing that this is more so in a global economy where economic opportunities have been increasingly used in relation to the mobility of people, goods, services as well as information.
The Corps Marshal stressed that even as there are different modes of Transportation in Nigeria, there is an over-dependence on the road sector which accounts for about 80 percent of movements of people in the country. “The over-reliance on road transport means that bulk cargoes being transported by heavy duty vehicles create unnecessary stress on the road infrastructure and significantly increase overall road maintenance costs, which impedes national development,” he said.
Oyeyemi also noted that a good example of the imbalance in the transportation system in Nigeria is lack of connection or efficient usage of rail from the Nigerian Ports, which he said results in a situation where the ports are littered with tankers/trailers, whereas efficient rail system could have been more appropriate and efficient in transporting such haulage goods.
On the development of transport policy in Nigeria, Oyeyemi observed that adequate attention has not been paid to other modes of transportation, thus creating a situation where road sector continues to be overburdened, whereas the fundamental goal of the National Transport Policy is to develop an adequate, safe, environmentally sound, efficient and affordable integrated transport system within the framework of a progressive and competitive market economy.
According to him, in the last five years, over 452,446,593 million passengers have travelled from motor parks in Nigeria.
Speaking on the role of the FRSC in ensuring safe transport system in Nigeria, the Corps Marshal stated that the Corps in another effort at making the road safe, having detected that over 50 percent of crashes on our roads resulted from speed violation, introduced a new policy that would make all vehicles to be installed with the speed limiting devise. He therefore, stressed that despite the challenges that could come with the implementation of the policy, as evidenced by the last National Assembly intervention, he was optimistic that the impasse would be resolved based on the conclusion of the public hearing, saying the use of the device remains the most practical solution to the needless carnages being recorded from speed induced crashes.
On the shape of transportation in the future, Oyeyemi expressed optimism that technology will continue to impact on transportation, especially road transportation and road safety management, and that FRSC is well prepared for the future with the development of its Corporate Strategic Road Map.
“FRSC deliberately planned to encourage states to set up their road safety management agencies to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in making the roads safe in the various states,” he pointed out.
“By 2020, the FRSC aims to have evolved into a fully transitioned, performance-driven world-class organization, operating as a Technical Regulator and Coordinator of road and vehicle safety within the Nigerian environment as well as adviser to other road safety agencies on the African continent,” Oyeyemi stated.
Providing the way forward for transportation system in the country, the Corps Marshal urged the Federal Government to take off the enormous pressure on the roads by quickly revitalizing other modes of transportation such as water and railway. He also advocated the need for proper regulation and setting up of safety standards in the aviation industry with more investments in airline, which would lead to higher safety levels and affordable flights that could discourage long distance travel by road.
“Revisit the designs of most road networks in the country with a view to making amends that will discourage traffic congestions, while Mass Transit schemes like the BRT in Lagos should be popularized in Nigeria to significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the road per time,” he stated.
“Body of knowledge is required by the academic community to bring policy makers to speak on innovation and good practices, and the Academia should conduct regular assessment of Government Policy and identify short comings in order to ameliorate the gaps.
“The Academia should partner with the media and Civil society Organisations to share new knowledge and make Government more responsive, while private Sector investments in the transport industry bearing safety in mind is paramount,” he added.
The 2016 Conference of the Association of the Nigerian Geographers is the 57th Annual Conference of the Association, which had as its theme, “The Geographical Perspectives on National Development.” It attracted participants from the various universities and members from across the country with active participation from members of the university community.