The federal government has expressed worry over the growing incidence of accidents on the nation’s road involving trucks transporting petroleum products across the country.
To this effect, the government said that it was reviving the railway system as well as investing heavily on the light rail system to provide alternative means of transporting petroleum products.
President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to address the safety challenges facing the transport sector, especially trucks carrying petroleum products.
The minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this while speaking at a Workshop on ‘Truck Renewal Policy’ organised by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in Abuja yesterday.
The minister who was represented by an assistant director in the minister, Mrs Oniremi Joke, said the government was developing a strategic plan for controlling trucks on major highways.
She said one of the strategic plans is the development of Truck Transit Parks.
While commending the associations for organizing the workshop with the theme, “Truck Renewal System, Ensuring Road Transport Safety”, the minister stated that the forum was not only timely, but apt considering the spate of accidents involving trucks across the country leading to loss of lives and properties.
On President Buhari’s concern about the state of accidents, she said: “As you are aware, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is poised to addressing some of the safety challenges facing the transport sector in order to save lives and maintain sanity by building and expanding more roads.
“Also, in order to lessen the pressure on Federal roads, the Government is reviving the railway system as well as investing heavily on the light rail system.
“However, the replacement of old sub-standard trucks with modern trucks equipped with safety devices for the transportation of petroleum products is an alternative that must be followed by Road Transport Unions and Associations”.
In his opening speech, MOMAN chairman, Adetunji Oyebanji, said that the forum was put together as part efforts in improving road transport safety in the petroleum downstream. MOMAN and NARTO, he stated, organised the conference to discuss fleet renewal that would ensure the replacement of trucks in the fleet of transporters, which do not meet the safety requirements of trucks designated for the transportation of dangerous goods.
“The conference will enable all major players involved in regulation, service providers, financial institutions and key users involved in petroleum transportation by road to have a discuss on a frame work on truck renewal that will guarantee sustainability of the business,” he stated.
He emphasised the need to transport products by alternative means saying, “All over the world, the transportation of petroleum product is carried out by pipelines, rails and road. Movement of product by pipeline is considered the most efficient and safest compared to rail and road. The pipeline system which was used in the early 1990s in Nigeria, had to be discontinued due to integrity issues on the pipeline which made road transportation become the major means of petroleum transportation in today Nigeria.”
On his part, the national president of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Othman charged government to create the enabling environment for them to participate actively in the development of the sector.