By Lizzy Okoji /Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
Abuja – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Abuja Operation Office, on Thursday in Abuja, embarked on sensitisation of stakeholders to boost their level of preparedness in mitigating and handling accidents during the yuletide.
Mr Bitrus Samuel, Coordinator of Abuja Operation Office, said that the essence of the programme was to prepare stakeholders in emergency management to mitigate the worrisome crashes that occur at the end of the year.
He said that at the end of the two-day experience sharing exercise on “Mass Casualty Handling in the Embers Months’’, respective stakeholders were expected to further enlighten the public on measures to avoid accidents.
Samuel added that the exercise was a precursor to the operation “Eagle Eye’’ and readiness for all stakeholders to effectively respond to accidents that may occur in the FCT and its environs during this season.
According to him, the exercise is a yearly routine of NEMA to gather stakeholders to share experiences on ways to mitigate the impact of the road transport crashes and other forms of accidents.
“A worrisome statistics have shown that nine out of 10 incidences responded to are road related crashes caused by poor infrastructure and attitude of drivers.
“It is common knowledge that during months of Sep. to Dec. every year, we experience rapid increase in movement of people from one part of the country to another, especially on road networks.
“Pressures on the road, especially with the near absence of a well functional rail transportation system, have resulted in a high number of road casualties on our highways.
“ At the end of the year, road traffic accidents are heightened because people are rushing to travel for the Christmas and New Year.
“It is only right as a responsible agency and as a responsible government to prepare to save the lives of fellow citizens.
“It is therefore our quest to align ourselves with the objectives of the United Nations decade of actions against road traffic injuries and reduction of fatalities by 50 per cent by the year 2020.
“We at NEMA usually assemble stakeholders around this time of the year to share experiences on ways to mitigate the impact of this menace in our own little way’’, Samuel said.
Samuel said that the Agency was also revamping its ambulance bays at strategic parts of the FCT so that they would function effectively during the festive period.
Earlier, Mr Ayuba Gora, Sector Commander, FCT Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said that the FRSC being a major stakeholder had already put in place necessary measures to mitigate and handle crashes during the season.
Gora said that in the FCT, the Corps had also embarked on several sensitisation campaigns in the media, churches, mosques and motor parks to educate Nigerians on ways to avoid Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs).
He said that aside RTAs, the corps had also deployed officials to the major entry and exit points in the FCT and strategic locations to avoid traffic gridlock.
Gora lauded the National Union of Road Traffic Workers (NURTW), who had given them good cooperation, by sensitising drivers on various traffic rules and had also given FRSC the go ahead to arrest defaulting drivers.
He said that with all the measures put in place, the FRSC was optimistic on curbing accidents, recklessness and irregularities on the highways and within the FCT this year.
In his remarks, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, Divisional Fire Officer, Asokoro Fire Station, FCT urged Nigerians to be careful during this season to avoid any form of fire incidence.
He said that the Fire Service was, however, prepared and ready to respond to any distress call from any part of the FCT within five minutes. (NAN)