By Ranmilowo Ojalumo
Road Users Awareness and Welfare Initiative (RUAWI), a not for profit organisation, has launched a laudable initiative, in collaboration with key government agencies and private organisations with aim of reducing road crashes and injuries by 50% by 2032.
While speaking during the official lunching of the initiative in Lagos on December 1, 2022 with the theme “Road Traffic crashes on Nigeria Road: A Shared Partnership”, the organisation’s Trustee Chairman, Mr. Dayo Bello explained that the organisation is looking at how all stakeholders can work hand in hand to achieve the singular aim of crash reduction on Nigeria road.
He said “we are simply saying no to untimely death on Nigerian road. There are many anomalies on Nigeria road. Passengers are not being given the required regard. The drivers always see themselves as the king, whereas, it is supposed to be the other way round. Customer is always a king; so passengers are supposed to be the king.
“As long as the passenger pay the right and agreed fee, they are supposed to enjoy the service, the drivers are supposed to rendered the service to the satisfaction of the passenger; unfortunately, the driver think they are the Alpha and Omega; so they do as they like. Imagine some drivers will drink and be driving, yet they think the passenger cannot control them, this is one of the causes of crashes on the road”.
In a bid to ensure that the right of the passenger is protected, Bello said the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has become one of the collaborators of the laudable initiative. He added that the organisation is also collaborating with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to curb the menace of drug abuse among the drivers on the road.
“We are bringing in FCCPC to protect the passenger (consumers). Also, the case of drug abuse is very rampant among the driver just because they are looking for energy; this is the reason we are bringing in NDLEA. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have been doing what they are supposed to be doing but there is always room for improvement, so we are also collaborating with them”, Bello said.
Bello noted that the organisation has discovered that there are some laws that protect the passengers and can also reduce crashes on the road but such laws are not being enforced which further justifies collaboration with FRSC to ensure that those law are being enforced accordingly.
He said “we have found out that there are many laws that are backing the passengers and that can also reduce road crashes but most of those laws are not being implemented effectively and one of those laws is the passengers’ insurance. So we are coming up with more campaign that will let passengers know that the law exists, because from our research, we found out that about 99% of passengers don’t know anything about passenger insurance.
“Passengers don’t know that they are supposed to be insured. Whenever you board a bus from one destination to another, especially on interstate, there is insurance that cover all passengers, N50 out of the total money the passenger paid is supposed to go for the insurance. It was an exciting thing when we heard that there is a law backing the passenger insurance cover, but it is equally sad when we heard again that the transporters/fleet operators are not insuring passengers.
So whenever there is an accident, every passenger will just be on their own, this is one of the reasons we have so many death from road crash, because if people are insured and they can actually go to the hospital and get quality treatment, then the death rate will reduce, this is one of the focus of RUAWI”.
According to Bello, to achieve the set objective, the organisation has set out to raise one million volunteers through its website and as of press time, about 300 volunteers have registered. The volunteers, according to Bello are expected to disseminate information and educate Nigerians.
He said “the volunteer we are raising is through our website. As we speak now, we already have about 300 registered volunteers. All you need to do is to register as volunteer in our website at https://ruawi.com/. We are not saying people should bring money to support us before they can register as volunteer”.
“The volunteers are supposed to be information careers. If people are not getting the right information, they will not know what to do. So through the volunteers, we will be able to pass the right information to every Nigerian. No one is left out of this, and that is because all Nigerians travel by roads irrespective of the distance. With the volunteers passing the right information to Nigerians, everybody will know all the hidden things about the road. We are therefore looking forward to see every road user as volunteer and we are going to see how the volunteers will be supported by our collaborators”.
The Trustee Chairman reiterated that the organisation’s set target will be pursue together with all the collaborator to achieve it come 2032. He said “from day one, we have set a target for ourselves, as you can easily see on our website, we said “take action with us to reduce road crashes and injuries on Nigeria road by 50% in 2032, this means we want to achieve this target in the next 10 years. If you visit our website, the date is already reading.
“While we are seeing the date counting every day, we are putting effort in place to make sure we are able to get to the point we want to get to. The date is reading, hence we have something that is propelling us to move fast and since we already have the day reading, we can’t afford to fail”.
He therefore called on all Nigerians to join hand with the organisation to reduce crashes, injuries and untimely death on Nigeria roads. “Road safety is everybody’s business, so nobody should say oh! It is Mr. Bello’s project. It should be everybody’s business. When someone we know dies as a result of illness, we may thank God, we may not really feel too bad unlike when someone dies as a result of road accident, it is always painful, so road accidents’ death is not what anybody should pray for.
“When someone dies while sleeping or due to illness, we may say may be it is the person’s time, but when it is through road accident, it is usually seen as untimely death. Even if the person is 100 years old, it is still seen as untimely death. So we are looking at how we can join our hands together to put an end to untimely death on Nigeria roads and how we can make our road to be safe. On security on the road, we are going to engage the police. All Nigerians should join hands with us to accomplish the set objective”
Those present at the launching of the initiative are the representative of the FCCPC Chief Executive, the representative of chairman of NDLEA. The representative of the acting Corps Marsha was present, the representative of the state coordinator of NYSC also present. We also received good will message from the inspector general of police through letter, goodwill message from the head of the parastatals and other stakeholders that were present.
Also present at the event are the auto technicians, the tyre dealers and other important stakeholders. The corporate organisation that were present include 11PLC, NEM insurance, Nigeria brewery, Airtel and every one of them identified ways they will contribute to the aim which is to reduce road crash.
For instance, Airtel explained how they can connect all drivers together on a CUG (Closed User Group) where they call talk freely at 500 per month. Brewery introduced an energy drink with malt that driver can drink to get energy to avoid alcohol. NEM insurance explained how they will cover passengers. 11 PLC on the other hand talked about the usage of quality and original lubricant that will help to avert constant breakdown of vehicles on the road.