By Ado Hasssan, Sokoto
National President of the National Association of Road Transport Owners(NARTO), Alhaji Kasim Ibrahim has decried the deplorable state of roads in the country and increasing incidences of kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry on highways.
He said 70% of road accidents were largely due to bad roads.
Speaking at the opening of the association’s 18th AGM in Sokoto Tuesday, Alhaji Ibrahim called on the urgent need for the federal government to immediately dualise the busy Makera-Kontagora- Yauri-Jega road to facilitate the movement of vehicles particularly those conveying petroleum related products to destinations.
Though, commended the federal government for the ongoing construction of roads nation wide.
The NARTO president also stressed the need to scale up security arrangements on the Kaduna- Birnin Gwari- Funtua road to stop the incessant kidnapping of people.
“Our drivers regularly fall victims of truck snatching, man handling and robbery especially on highways.
” This force the drivers out of necessity, to divert and follow longer routes in to get to their scheduled destinations in recent years.
Accordingly, Ibrahim expressed concern on how villagers with residents close to highways barricade roads with objects to stop speeding drivers” they use woodlogs, stones, used tyres and sandbags to control excessive speed by vehicles which has often resulted to fatal accidents.
” It is regrettable that these challenges continue to exist even as 85% travellers in the country move by road and 98% of petroleum products are being transported through the same means”, he pointed out.
He said NARTO is an organisation of investors in the road transport sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.
He called on all security and relevant agencies to sustain a more collaborative synergy with NARTO for security, good traffic and driving culture for the safety and protection people and properties.
” We are collaborating with FERMA and others to drive the policies of government to success”, he stated.
However, the National President commended the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige for his resilience and commitment in building confidence in the association by identifying with its role as an integral branch of the ministry.
In the same vein, commended Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal for his uncommon and inviable performance in driving to success the state education, agriculture, housing, works and other sub-sectors to glory.
” Which is why he earned the Silver Bird governor award in 2016″, he noted.
Declaring the annual meeting open, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal represented by Secretary to the State Government, Professor Bashir Garba noted that NARTO had great role to play in shaping the socio-economic prosperity of the country as a stakeholder.
Tambuwal advised the association to focus on modern techniques and means of transportation so as to attract foreign partnership and expertise in developing the country’s transport sub-sector.
” Your role is significantly important in enhancing and facilitating the activities of Nigerians.”
According to Tambuwal” It is in view of this, we strive to harmonise their activities with sister organs in the state to ensure the desired benefits.
” We are ready to sustain our support to your activities to move the economy”, he assured.
In his remarks, Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige
described NARTO as key in driving the nation’s economy to glory, noting that the association was resilient in pushing the frontiers of its members on the pedestal of achieving success.
” I hope you will use this platform to address the challenges and dynamics faced by the association in driving the transport sub- sector to prosperity.
” All hands must be on deck to strengthen the activities of the association. Work in collaboration with members to ensure industrial peace”, he urged.
The Minister further said his ministry would always remain committed to the objectives and ideals of NARTO to ensure harmonious relationship.