This study examines the assessment of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria (a case study of Minna-Abuja road). Specifically, the study determines whether there are road hazards in Nigeria, determines the extent of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria, determines whether these hazards affects the safety and security of travelers along Minna-Abuja road, determines whether government is making any effort on reducing road hazards and challenges along Minna-Abuja road and proffers possible measures to reduce the level of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. The study adopted the cognitive theory. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that there are road hazards in Nigeria. Furthermore, the findings revealed that the extent of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria is very high. The findings further revealed that these hazards affect the safety and security of travelers along Minna-Abuja road. The study recommends that government should encourage international intervention on road safety for sustainable national development. The study further recommends that standard road infrastructure and road signs should be provided for safety on Nigerian roads.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Roads are found in every society, the degree of safety of roads in each society varies one from another. Road development adds value and spurs growth, the potential significance of road development for investment, trade, growth and poverty alleviation cannot be overemphasized (Ighodaro, 2008). Roads facilitate the provision of services as well as quick delivery of goods to consumers; however roads could be a death trap and could slow down the process of delivery of goods and provision of service where the issue of safety is handled carelessly. According to Sumaila (2013), Nigeria has a total road length of about 194,000 kilometers; comprising 34, 120 kilometers federal, 30,500 kilometers state and 129,580 kilometers of local roads. The road system is classified into four broad categories: the Federal Trunk ‘A’ Roads, owned, developed and maintained by the federal government. The Federal Trunk ‘F’ Roads acquired by the Federal government from state government with a view to upgrade them to federal status. The Trunk ‘B’ Roads and Trunk ‘C’ Roads owned and managed by states and the local government respectively. The federal, state and local government has the responsibility for ensuring safety on roads.
Nigeria ranked as the country with the second largest road network in Africa in 2011. Its population density which varies in rural and urban areas (approximately 51.7% and 48.3% respectively) translates to a population-road ratio of 860 persons per square kilometres indicating intense traffic pressure on the available road network. This pressure contributes to the high road traffic accidents in the country (FRSC, 2012).
The Nigeria road traffic situation has reached such an alarming proportion even to the point of sheer frustration and near helplessness. Nigeria continues to feature as one of the countries with the worst road accident records by World Health Organisation. The country’s 149th ranking in 2009 out of 178 member states indicates the hazards associated with road transportation in a country that is largely dependent on its road network for economic, social and physical activities.
Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia with their teeming populations possess better fatality indices even up to 50% less than Nigeria’s statistics. Western countries on the other hand are rated even better, recording less than 10 deaths per 100,000 populations on theaverage, with the UK having one of the lowest with only 5.4 deaths per 100,000 populations (FRSC, 2012).
Indeed news of road traffic accidents in Nigeria no longer stirs any surprise. What may be shocking, however, is the magnitude of the fatality. Daily, Nigerian Newspapers carry news of road traffic accidents that are considered significant only in severity. Sometimes the papers sum up the number of lives claimed as if they were providing an expenditure account. e.g. “over 100 lives lost to fatal accidents in the Nyanya area in the last one year’. Such news indicates that we live in accidents every day. According to Sumaila (2001) road traffic accidents have claimed more lives than deaths resulting from all communicable diseases put together including the dreaded Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Thus, the government and people of Nigeria are deeply concerned about the continuing high rate of road accidents and the unnecessary consequential waste of lives and properties. What is worrisome is the fact that road traffic crashes and mortality rates are still high despite various remedial measures taken in recent years to combat the problem. This clearly suggests one thing that we are yet to get it right.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The challenge of road safety in Nigeria and in other countries of the world is enormous. Global status report on road safety 2013 of the World Health Organization reports that about 1.24 million people die annually on the world’s roads, with 20–50 million sustaining non-fatal injuries. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated about 907 900, 1.3 million and 1.4 million deaths from road traffic injuries in 1990, 2010 and 2013, respectively (GBD, 2013). The status report on road safety in countries of the WHO African Region (2009) stated that Nigeria has the second highest rate of road accidents among 193 ranked countries of the world. The roads have become killing fields without protection for their users. Sheriff (2009) and Eze (2012) noted that Nigeria has one of the highest road accidents rate as well as death per 10,000 vehicles. Similarly, Balogun (2006) also submitted that deaths and fatalities from road traffic accident in Nigeria rank among the highest in the world. Travelers in Nigeria usually heave a sigh of relief when they get to their destinations safe and would give testimony in church upon a safe trip.
The poor state of the Minna-Abuja road has become a major concern to the daily users and the government at large as it is the major road linking Minna to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. People who ply the road will affirm to the fact that the road has become a hazardous zone exposing its users to accident and security risks which endangers lives and property. Quite a number of individual car owners prefer to use public transport instead their personal cars to ply the road for the fear of incurring damages on the cars thereby causing them to spend extra on repairs making it economically friendly.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study is to assess of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria (a case study of Minna-Abuja road). Specifically, other objectives of this study are;
i. To determine whether there are road hazards in Nigeria.
ii. To determine the extent of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria.
iii. To determine whether these hazards affects the safety and security of travelers along Minna-Abuja road.
iv. To determine whether government is making any effort on reducing road hazards and challenges along Minna-Abuja road.
v. To proffer possible measures to reduce the level of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
i. Are there road hazards in Nigeria?
ii. What is the extent of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria?
iii. Does these hazards affect the safety and security of travelers along Minna-Abuja road?
iv. Is the government making any effort on reducing road hazards and challenges along Minna-Abuja road?
v. What are the possible measures to reduce the level of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be beneficial to the society as the findings of this study will reveal the impact of road hazards in Nigeria.
This study will also be beneficial to scholars as this study will serve as a reference for further studies and future reference.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study takes assesses road hazards and challenges in Nigeria (a case study of Minna-Abuja road). Specifically, this study focuses on determining whether there are road hazards in Nigeria, determining the extent of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria, determining whether these hazards affects the safety and security of travelers along Minna-Abuja road, determining whether government is making any effort on reducing road hazards and challenges along Minna-Abuja road and proffering possible measures to reduce the level of road hazards and challenges in Nigeria.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Road hazards: Road hazard means a hazard that is encountered while driving a motor vehicle including, but not limited to, potholes, rocks, wood debris, metal parts, glass, plastic, curbs, or composite scraps.