By Lucy Ogalue
Stakeholders, including the Nigerian Army, have reiterated the importance of safety and security in developing the transportation sector and engendering growth of the nation.
They spoke at the 4th National Transportation Summit of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the summit is “Transport Safety and Security Administration in Nigeria”.
According to the CIOTA President, Dr Bashir Jamoh, the theme is carefully chosen to proffer solution to the challenge of insecurity affecting the various modes of transportation in the country.
Jamoh, who was represented by Prof. Samuel Odewumi of LASU, said, “this particular summit is on safety and that is the big elephant in the room. All the modes are under threats.
“The air, though regulated by the international agency, has safety as always their first line of consideration in everything.
“The railway that we thought is the safest and easiest, has come under threat and we don’t need to remind ourselves what the situations are now with the rail.
“Water transport is the same thing. The road is not in any way better. It carries about 90 per cent of our mobility but it is heavily challenged.
“So, CIOTA feels safety should be the focus. Transport is at the neck of mobility and economy. So, we must do all we can to secure it.”
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, represented by Mr Cajetan Agu, NSC’s Director of Consumer Affairs, said without security and safety, transport could not develop.
“And transport itself happens to be the catalyst for the development of the economy.
“When you look at the transportation system generally, you will discover that what we have as a system needs a surgical review.
“You can see the sanity on the road when you travel outside Nigeria; so in our capacity as the port economic regulator, what we are charging this summit is to ensure they assist in coming up with standard.
“There must be standard for road, rail, maritime; it is only when we have standard that even the issue of safety and security comes in.
“Our emphasis is that the institute should assist, liaise with the various government agencies who are in charge of this modes of transportation to make sure that we have standard.
“We will also want to restate NSC’s commitment to support the project and programme of this institute,”Jime said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Faruq Yahaya on his part, pledged to protect transport infrastructure across the country.
Yahaha, represented by the Commander, Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport, Maj.- Gen. E. Akerejola, said he would work with relevant agencies to protect the transport facilities and Nigerians in general.
He said security of the transport infrastructure was key, adding that the sector was confronted with new challenges such as the recent bandits attack on rail and other criminal elements.
“I am aware that the Summit is aimed at examining the challenges facing the transportation sector in all ramifications, especially on safety and security.
He said recommending ways forward in the use of technology, innovations, and policy for the improvement of transportation safety and security in our nation would no doubt create a better platform for other sectors of the economy to thrive.
This will boost economic growth and development in Nigeria.
“Transportation is key to human existence as man naturally explores his environment and satisfies his curiosity.
Therefore, transportation constitutes a significant factor in the sustainable development of any country, society, or nation.
“It permeates many economic sectors, facilitates International trade, supports food security, delivers energy, and enables industrial and infrastructural development.
“It generates employment and helps create prosperity.”
It is on this basis that I consider this Summit as timely to address the series of challenges facing the transportation system in our country,” Yahaya said.
Restating some challenges faced by the sector, he said the recent attacks by non-state actors and other criminal elements had brought a new dimension to transportation challenges in the country.
“I wish to reassure CIOTA of the support and collaboration of the Nigerian Army whenever the need arises, most especially in the areas of providing adequate security for our teeming population and to the various critical national infrastructure.
“The Nigerian Army shall continue to carry out our duties diligently and work in synergy with other relevant security agencies to ensure a safer environment for the transportation sector and the nation as a whole.”
Yahaya charged the institute to look beyond policy formulation towards policy implementation and review existing ones to meet the dynamism of the sector.
On the safety of the road sub-sector, the Acting Corps Marshall of Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Dauda Biu, said safety on the highway was crucial.
Biu, who was represented by Deputy Corps Commandant and Dean, Post Graduate School, FRSC Academy Enugu, Sikiru Balogun, said safety on the highway had been seriously affected.
According to him, research shows that most assassinations take place while vehicles are in transit and there are many factors related to this.
NAN reports that other security, transportation stakeholders and well-wishers at the summit also pledged their commitment to the safety and security of the subsector in the country. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman