PETROLEUM Tanker Drivers’ Association (PTD), an arm of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has blamed the incessant petrol tanker accidents on inefficiency on the part of regulatory agencies.
PTD Chairman, Salimon Oladiji, said at the commissioning and launch of the Nigerian Road Transport Owners’ secretariat and office annex yesterday that the inability of traffic agencies, coupled with the deplorable state of Nigerian roads, are responsible for the incessant road crashes. “The regulators are partly responsible for the situation,” he said.
“A situation whereby you fail to charge a rickety truck, and do not stop trucks that are no longer road-worthy, make them part of the problem.” However, he disclosed that following the ugly incidents in the past, the PTD has been training its hired drivers across the country “to tackle what we feel are the causes of the accidents.
I believe that training and retraining of our drivers, which we do in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), will be of help. “We make our drivers understand that a good driver is the one that takes the tanker away and brings it back at the end of the journey.”
On the allegation that some tanker owners engage under-age drivers as well as drug addicts, Oladiji said the FRSC should also be blamed for issuing licences to such drivers. He queried: “Who are the people issuing them driver’s licences? “That is the reason I blame the situation on regulators.
In fact, we have asked FRSC to use alcohol detector to find out drunken drivers and as well ensure that tanker drivers maintain minimal speed limit.” Nevertheless, he kicked against any move to restrict tanker drivers to night movement, stressing that the security situation in the country and the state of the roads could pose a serious challenge.
Also speaking, NARTO National President, Dr. Kassim Ibrahim Bataiya, dismissed claims that transport owners have been frustrating government’s efforts to revamp rail transport across the country. According to him, NARTO has never gone against the resuscitation of railway lines.
“We have been encouraging the government to put our railway lines in order to reduce road congestion,” he said. “The reason our roads fail is because they are overused. Goods that are supposed to be conveyed by rail are carried by road trucks while those that should be transported through the NNPC pipelines are being transported by road tankers.”
Former president of the association, Martin Ikediashi, said that road accidents across the country are a reflection of the country’s economy and the kind of priority government places on road construction. According to him, “accidents don’t just happen.
The roads are poorly maintained. We believe that as time goes on, the government will begin to do what it is expected to do. Once the roads are repaired, things will improve. “We had at various seminars espoused integrated transport network. Road transport is very expensive, both to transporters and the public, the government and importers.
Other means of transportation could be cheaper. “So, road transport can never assume monopoly in the country. The government should do its part and stop passing blames. NARTO does not control where the railway works.”