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INTERVIEW: 80 PERCENT OF ARTICULATED VEHICLES ON THE ROAD IS OVER 30 YEARS OLD -OYEYEMI BOBOYE, FORMER FRSC BOSS.

INTERVIEW: 80 PERCENT OF ARTICULATED VEHICLES ON THE ROAD IS OVER 30 YEARS OLD -OYEYEMI BOBOYE, FORMER FRSC BOSS.

 

Oyeyemi Boboye is the immediate past Corps Marshall of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC). He spoke with journalist at a function held at the University of Lagos organised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria.

As an expert, he recommended several ways to improve on the transport system in Nigeria and how best to avoid incessant traffic crashes among articulated vehicles along the roads.

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He expounded the challenges inherent among the articulated vehicles and how to tackle the menace.

According to Boboye, the renumeration for articulated drivers should be jacked up even as he added that Transport Bank should be made available for transport owners for soft loans that will not exceed one digit interest rate, among other salient issues.

Excerpts.

What do you think is the best way to finding solutions to the problem of unskilled drivers in Nigeria?

 

The renumeration of drivers is very low, we need to raise it. There is also need for professionalism for the drivers, if there is professionalism, there will be more entrants and sanity.

Remember there was a time Dangote employed 2,000 graduates and they are well paid and there was involvement of Federal Road Safety Corps in setting road safety standards for them.

The accident rate was high before but it would have dropped now because they are literate people, that is professionalism.

The National Transport Act stipulates that you must have been a driver for some years before you can drive articulated vehicles

The industry itself must raise the bar of the drivers, not just at that low level because we don’t have skilled articulated drivers presently, it is only the experienced ones that started from motor boy and that is why the crashes are always fatal.

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So, there is need to improve on it and age is catching up on them with those in the industry presently and the law is very clear that when you get to a certain age, you are supposed to be running medicals before you can continue driving

So, the nation requires skilled drivers and not just experienced drivers. You must be trained appropriately as a professional driver, you must have insurance package, the renumeration must be enticing.

There must be a data base for them so that through the data base, we can have the working history of the drivers. That will make them to be more discipline.

 

Question: You talked about the fact that most of the trucks on the road are old especially the fact that most of the trucks always fall on the road. Can you expatiate on this?

 

I have been advocating this for the past thirty five years. The issue is that I have been working with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and they have been raising the issue because to put a tanker on the road, it takes N70 million, it is not affordable. That is why they are asking for transport bank to give transport loans at single digit and I reiterated that to the government to have a transport bank to give transport loans to transportation industry at single digit to be able to re-fleet.

A call for fleet renewal is what we are talking about. If a driver is having a new vehicle, he will have a satisfaction but if he is driving a thirty year old vehicle that is breaking down frequently, he cannot have job satisfaction, it can be frustrating.

If you are driving a new vehicle, your productivity is measured appropriately. So, those are the things the government should intervene in and assist the transport industry to provide soft loans to be able to renew their fleets.

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Eighty percent of the articulated vehicles on the road are over thirty years, they are prone to break down, they are prone to road traffic crashes and the running coat is multiplied.

 

Question: On the incessant crash of articulated vehicles on the roads, what do you think is responsible?

It has to do with violation. For example, the Lagos state government banned the use of flyovers by trailers and they are still violating it. Don’t forget, when they are climbing, they are vibrating and they don’t latch the container, remember, Road Safety emphasized then that they must be latched. If they are not latched, they can easily fall off but if they are latched, they won’t fall off. So, what is required is enforcement by Road Safety officials.

Question: Pipeline system of transportation in Nigeria has collapsed. What can you say about this?

It has collapsed and the GMD of NNPC Limited set up a team to look into reviving the pipeline. If the pipelines are revived, there are depots across the country from Yola to Gussau, from Minna to Apata in Ibadan and all over the country like that. If those pipelines are functioning, the pressure on the road will be less and if the pressure is less, the drivers too will not be overworked and the product pilfering will reduce.

If you carry product from Port Harcourt to Yola, you carry from Lagos to Port Harcourt or Ibadan, that is what is called “bridging.” If you load 45,000 litres, before you get there even if there is no pilfering, you can’t get 45, 000 litres because there is evaporation of the product but that one is already factored in.

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Because of the distance, it gives room for the drivers to pilfer but if the pipelines are fixed, there will be a lot of improvement in product distribution in the country. What we are advocating for is the efforts being made by GMD of NNPC in revitalizing the pipelines which is commendable and this will ensure that the pipelines are functioning.

 

Question: You spoke on the fact that government should invest in infrastructure for intermodal transport system for the new government coming in, kindly explain more.

 

We have spoken about the pipeline which is the fifth of the intermodal transportation system. The road, we appreciate the efforts of the present government (administration of President Muhammadu Buhari), a lot still needs to be done. Lagos/Ibadan is nearing completion now, then Enugu/Port Harcourt is under construction and few other roads are under construction but Nigerians will love to see all the roads in good shape and if this is done, that will reduce air transportation.

A lot of people love travelling, it is an adventure but because the roads are not in good condition, that is the infrastructure we are talking about.

The same thing with rail, we must commend the present government (administration of President Muhammadu Buhari) for revitalizing the rail system. Now you have options, you can go to Ebute Metta to board a train to Ibadan, you have your comfort. Then from Warri to Itakpe, Ajaokuta

What we are saying is that all the infrastructure should be continuously improved to reduce pressure on the road

Then water transportation, there should be dredging so that water transportation can carry partially, what train wagons carry but rail is still the best when it comes to high level transportation operation.­

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