A clarion call for Safer roads. Its 2.00 am in the morning and I am unable to sleep. Weighed down by the latest happenings regarding deaths on our roads.
My bosom friend Miriam Ikunaiye poured out her mind in grief regarding the recent loss of lives of some students. Read the account below: (slightly edited)
Last Tuesday, the Director General Media and Communication to Kano State shocked Nigerians by his announcement of the ghastly motor accident that killed 8 of Kano’s best brains. It is not the death that was shocking  but how  they died! They had a burst tyre on Lagos Ibadan Expressway after a successful  mission in Lagos.
A lot of questions arise for this mission! Some questions that beg for urgent attention are :
1. How old were  the tyres of the bus that conveyed 12 people  to Lagos  on a 12 hour journey?
2. How experienced was the driver on the Kano-  Lagos trip?
3. How old   was that  school bus that embarked on this trip?
4. How comfortable would 12 people and their luggage  be in a bus for a 12 hours ( Lagos – Kano) journey?
5. If the govt remembered to engage Azman Air to pick their corpses how come they did not remember that an hour trip would be better than a 12 hour journey for children going for a competition?  Their corpses do not really need much comfort.
6.If any of the top govt officials children were on this mission could that miserable school bus be considered for the journey?These children have actually been carelessly ripped off their chance to live the lengths of their very promising lives .
No compensation is too much to give the parents of the deceased and a commission of enquiry must be set up to look into the circumstances  surrounding  this unfortunate  event.
They should have a public hearing so that  transparency  and integrity which are the whole essence of the Change Agenda are reflected in this very sad and important  matter.
May the souls  of the departed rest in perfect peace and May Allah give their families  the fortitude to bear this tragic loss
For bcbeewoman.com (@bcbee1), a Child safety Advocate, there is an urgent need for Safe Roads Safe Child Initiatives.Our able Minister of Works Babatunde Raji Fashola must support Safer roads advocacy by ensuring all Nigerian Roads are built well. SOS points must be available in various locations on our roads and improved disaster management encouraged.The FRSC must be empowered to regulate school trips involving using vehicles to convey pupils/students.
Other questions that come to mind are: did the school teams carried out a risk assessment for this trip, if so where is this and who was responsible? what about parental consents, trip itineraries, were these made available to parents? what of  the drivers competences? were these checked, what of the drivers psychological state? perhaps the driver was tired or under the influence of certain substances? who was responsible in ensuring such checks were made?  what of seat belts, perhaps none was fitted in the bus or perhaps the seat belts were defective, perhaps the vehicle was overloaded, perhaps the driver was over speeding, perhaps the breaks were defective, perhaps, perhaps……..
There is no end to speculations! But ENOUGH of these needless deaths!! Our Government must do more, parents must start to ask more questions and demand to see certain things before giving their consents for their children to embark on such trips!!! Things like the itinerary, the risk assessment and types of insurance, the certificate of road worthiness by a reputable Child Safety Consultants, the state of the vehicle and the competences of the driver and the school team that would be escorting the young people.
Hmmmm….. my heart is heavy…
What do you say to the parents of these students to console them?
May the souls of the departed find their paths in the beyond. AMEN