Abuja - The President of West Africa Road Safety Organization (WARSO), Osita Chidoka, has urged member countries to give road safety priority attention in order to reduce the number of road casualties in the region.
He called on member countries to critically examine the sub-regional roads, which he said bemoaned were not safe.
Chidoka stressed that the responsibility for the restoration of safety on the roads lied on WARSO members who led the safer road campaigns in the various countries.
“We must face these challenges squarely and tackle them head-on. This we can do through sincere and open discussion on matters affecting road safety in our various countries; sharing of ideas and peer reviewing ourselves in order to point out areas of strength and weaknesses,” he said during a presentation to the just-ended WARSO General Assembly.
He also advocated for closer collaboration of the member states so as to effectively provide a safety net on the roads in the African continent.
He paid tribute to the founders of the organization for their vision.
“Today, we might not have achieved all the goals set out by the organization at inception, but we are unanimous in the belief that we are on course,” he said.
WARSO is a body of member countries within the ECOWAS sub-region. With a common resolve to promote and improve road safety activities within the sub-region, it is made up of 15 member countries and four non-governmental organizations.
Meanwhile, WARSO has adopted a common template of the passenger manifest for use by member countries within the West African Sub-region.
Jonas Agwu, the Public Education Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, disclosed the development in a press statement from Abuja.
According to Agwu, the resolution formed part of decisions arrived at the WARSO 5th General Assembly which took place at Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. He said the General Assembly agreed that the adoption of the passenger manifest was justified by the need to ensure easy identification of road crash victims on inter-city trips in commercial vehicles, within the sub-region. Member countries were further enjoined to customize the passenger manifest to suit peculiarities in different countries and a legislative frame work to precede its enforcement.
“Other fall-outs from the meeting which had 9 countries including Nigeria in attendance and 4 Non-governmental organizations include the resolution for all member countries to incorporate road safety into their basic education curriculum in schools and a common template for the collection of statistical data by member countries. The template should include information on heavy duty/articulated vehicles, tricycles, number of licensed drivers and registered vehicles,” Agwu added.
According to him, “A template with performance indicators and performance scoring as developed by a Technical Sub-Committee would be used to evaluate the performance status of member countries regarding the WARSO Decade of Action, while Ghana was mandated to share with other countries, its success story on the legal and regulatory framework on the usage of the retro-reflective tapes. Member countries were further enjoined to provide their status of implementation of the usage of the tape by January 2014.”
– CAJ News