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By NBF News
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Nigeria' s foremost coach transport and haulage company, ABC Transport Plc, has reiterated its commitment to safety and constant reorientation of its staff towards upholding practices that help obviate unsafe conditions in its daily operations across the country and the Lagos-Accra route.

The company said it would continue to train and retrain its drivers, in addition to rewarding them where necessary, in order to maintain safe operations all the time.

Managing Director of the ABC, Frank Nneji , who made these remarks at the flag-off of the ABC Safety Week And 2011/2012 Accident-Free Campaign themed Drive To Survive, disclosed that to maintain safety consciousness employees are made realize they are stakeholders in road transportation, and therefore, have a responsibility to work safely.

Nneji said at the flag-off held in Lagos: 'As long as ABC Transport Plc is concerned, we shall continue to speak and live out safety. We shall continue to train and retrain our employees, with special reference to the drivers and attendants. We shall keep commending and rewarding any of our driving crew who maintain safe operations within a given year. We shall continue to equip our safety unit and logistics overall in tandem with international standards. We shall continue to explore new technologies and methodologies that enhance safety - because we can only drive to survive when we follow safety in an honest and rigorous manner.'

As always, the ABC Managing Director drew attention to the deplorable condition of the roads across the country, but commended the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for not relenting in promoting safe driving practices and reducing road traffic crashes, despite the failure of government to live up to expectation in the provision of road infrastructure. Nneji called on government to pay more attention to the roads, lamenting that 'our highways are arguably one of the most dangerous in the world.'

He particularly charged the Ministry of Works to come up with 'concrete strategies in developing viable road networks, while the Ministry of Transport should initiate actions that help promote virile transport operation nationwide.' In his comments, an Associate Professor of Transport Management, University of Technology, Owerri, Dr. Callistus Ibe, who was the guest speaker at the occasion, disclosed that only 15 per cent of the entire roads were motorable.

Dr Ibe stated: 'Nigeria has a national road network of about 200,000km out of which about 18 per cent are owned and maintained by the Federal Government; 15 per cent by the state governments and the remaining 67 per cent by the local governments. Ibe, who spoke on 'The challenges of road safety in Nigeria and the panacea,' also gave a breakdown of the required amount for road rehabilitation. He said, 'We have the challenge of sourcing for an estimated N112.4bn by the Federal Government, N64.05bn by the state governments and 144.55bn by the local governments to put the roads in safe and motorable conditions in line with the best practice.'

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Transport Education, Dr. Temitope Masha, said the task of achieving maximum safety on the road was a collective responsibility. She urged the private sector to play an active role in improving the transport sector, which she noted as the fulcrum of economic transformation.

Masha said the state government had initiated some major projects, including the light rail and resuscitation of water transportation to reduce the burden on the road.

She also said the planned expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit scheme and continued road rehabilitation and upgrading would improve the road transport mode. Part of the ceremony was the decoration of ABC drivers and guests with safety week emblem.