ON January 19, 2021, around 8.15 am on the Presidential Boulevard Road near Guarantee Trust Bank opposite Lawson Group School, Kuto, in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, a tanker transporting petrol exploded, killing at least one person and burning scores of vehicles.
That same day, at about 1.30 pm, another tanker laden with PMS fell and spilled its content on the road along Alapere-Ogudu area in Lagos State.
More recently, on Saturday, January 23, 2021, around 6.00 pm, a truck loaded with cement, following brake failure, rammed into some business centres and shops near the gate of Adekunle Ajasin University, AAU, in Akungba Akoko, Ondo State.
Sadly, the ghastly AAU accident killed three siblings, two of which are final year students of the university. As soon as the mother of the three dead siblings heard about the death of her children, she slumped and died.
Truly, accidents are usually unpredictable, but looking at the deplorable conditions of Nigerian roads and the scraps of metals called vehicles that ply the roads, one may not really be surprised at the frequency of accidents which claim the lives of Nigerians almost on daily basis.
Life has become very cheap in the country because death lurks at every corner for all Nigerians as they go about trying to earn a living. If one was lucky to escape death in the hands of killer herdsmen, Boko Haram or other criminal gangs, one ends up in a raging fire from an exploded tanker laden with fuel, or crushed by a container that fell off from a truck plying one of the roads riddled with ditches and gullies.
Nigerians, no doubt, are tough people, but unfortunately, many years of neglect of our roads by the authorities, corruption – which blinds traffic officers from seeing and removing from the roads vehicles that are not road-worthy – and lawlessness on the part of some road users, have combined to subject Nigerians to all manners of avoidable deaths.
Good road networks, as we have observed before, are like the veins and arteries that carry life-giving blood to all vital organs of the body.
A country or city without good roads is not only doomed, but also a death trap to the citizens.
Government must, therefore, devise means of building new roads and maintaining the existing ones.
The excuses often tendered that recurrent expenditure gulps all the money in the budget leaving nothing for capital expenditure is not tenable, because there are many leakages in public finance.
If those leakages are plugged, and corruption is properly tackled, there will be enough money to maintain our roads and save our people from these avoidable deaths.