What do you get when you combine single lane “highways”, drivers with no real driver education, and thousands (maybe millions) of road users? Ok let’s make it more interesting. How about we throw in pot holes and broken down tractor trailers. I’m sure you get the picture. See its really not surprising to read stories like this or this. It seems to happen every other day. Everyone in Nigeria probably knows someone or knows of someone who died in a traffic accident.
The sad thing is most of the time people have no control over things. You can try to drive as carefully as you can but sometimes that is still not enough. So what do you do? You hope and pray that today is not your day. However given the conditions it will always be somebody’s day. In 2012 an average of 11 people were killed each day. 4260 in total. To put that into perspective according to the Nigeria security tracker, about 1280 people have been killed by boko haram since July 2011.
I did a decent amount of road traveling too. Traveled by road from Jos to Abuja and back. Then to the east, to Awka then Arochukwu then Port Harcourt through Ikot Ekpene and Aba. The story everywhere is the same. The Enugu – Onitsha expressway which at some point used to be a dual carriage highway is now for the most part, a single lane highway. I can’t even use words to describe the road between Arochukwu and Ikot Ekpene. Yes Ikot Ekpene is in Akwa Ibom state, the oil-rich-send-representatives-to-Tu face-wedding-in-Dubai state. A sad state of affairs.
Of course the official story by the FG is they are working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Blah blah blah. It would be nice if there was at least some kind of nationwide highway plan. Until then I guess we will continue praying that today is not our day.