FRSC SAYS BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS ON VALENTINE'S DAY
Nigerians are the happiest people on earth, the economic situation of the country not withstanding we are always a merriment conscious people. We never fail to utilize any opportunity to celebrate an event, so the Valentine day is not an exception.
Valentine is here and LOVE is in the air! This is the time of the year when love is expressed in different forms, from buying of gifts, going out on dinner dates, attending night clubs, or any musical show to commemorate the day. Boyfriends and girlfriends, married couples, admirers are not left out. Love is the language of the moment.
The Holy Book says love does not hurt nor seek its own good, acts continuously as practised by Saint Valentine in his time to all and sundry. He was known for love and peace which make the Catholic Church leadership to devote a day for the remembrance of his good works.
Though, to mark the day in Nigeria, different shows are organized by different organizations and sponsored mainly by alcoholic producing companies, while churches are also not left out of the euphoria of the day. At such shows (sponsored by the brewery company) the company's product are bought at a low cost or given freely to the attendees an opportunity that most youths sees as an avenue to consume as many bottles as possible.
Statistics of road crashes during valentine period for three years showed that in 2008 between 12th and 18th February, being the period of valentine celebration, there were 268 road crashes with 33 fatal, 175 minor which resulted in 86 deaths and 551 with various degrees of injuries. In 2009, a total of 187 road crashes were recorded, with 30 fatal, 109 serious, 48 minor resulting in 99 deaths and 527 with various degree of injuries, while in 2010, that is last year, a total of 227 cases were recorded with 53 fatal, 139 serious and 35 minor all resulting 70 deaths and 661 others with several degrees of injuries.
Love is synonymous to the month of February, almost everyone is one way or the other involved in the ecstasy of the moment, but how many are safety conscious in this season? Valentine is a day set aside to express love, not a day of death or accident. Many meet their untimely death on such a good day, with accidents caused by reckless driving induced by drunk-driving. Concentration on the passengers, rather than the road, excitement to or from a musical show, late night driving without good head lights, and others are the reasons for such disaster during this period.
Records have shown that many people, especially youths who are leaders of tomorrow waste away by dying on such a beautiful day. It is pertinent to note that valentine is not a one in a life-time event, just like Christmas, it has come to stay and will always be celebrated. It's a celebration that will always be every year, but only definitely for the L-I-V-I-N-G, as those in the graveyard have no business with what valentine is all about.
The day should be viewed as a special moment to give and receive love with safety at the back of our mind. Since many will be on the road during this period enjoying the gift of life, you should remember not to drink if you are going to drive and NEVER drive if you are drunk. Passengers should encourage drivers to concentrate on the road rather than on them.
The day is just 24 hours while a life-time is more than a million hours, so, drive during this period for the many hours of your life instead of just a 24 hours event. Please enjoy to stay alive and live long.
•Akpabio, is a Corps Commander and the Corps Public Education Officer, FRSC.