Comrade Issa Aremu, mni, General Secretary, NUTGTWN has called for an end to what he called the ‘road virus’ killing high and low level Nigerians through several accidents.
Aremu made the call during a condolence visit to the NUJ Kaduna State Council on the death of its former Treasurer and Secretary, Chief Dominic Uzu.Speaking during the visit, he said “I hereby formally commiserate with you on the death of former Treasurer and Secretary of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Council, Chief Dominic Uzu, the sad event which occurred on Tuesday February 4, 2020 following a tragic fatal accident along Kaduna-Zaria Highway.
He recalled that “Comrade Dominic Uzu was a tested Journalist. His tragic death was a great loss to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and his family and all of us his comrades and friends. We all bear testimony to his tremendous achievements and contribution to the growth and development of NUJ in Kaduna State.
Aremu added that “The best way to mourn Comrade Dominic Uzu is to collectively put an end to cheap and callous wastage of human lives, (low or high alike) on our roads. Tears are not just enough. There is an urgent need to rebuild our roads and ensure safety rules are observed with a view of reducing accidents on our roads.
He added, “Seeing the poor survivors and dependents of victims of roads accidents should make us change our perception of accident victims as mere statistics! In the case of Comrade Dominic Uzu he left a wife, 4 children and several relatives and several colleagues in NUJ. The point cannot be overemphasized: Accident victims are agonizing humans (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, bread winners,) with all the valued human relationships suddenly terminated on account of avoidable “accidents”. A visit to a typical emergency/casualty ward in our hospital shows that road accidents do as much violence as terrorism does. Sudden deaths of working journalists and Nigerians in general further point to crisis of road governance in Nigeria.
Put An End To Road Terrorism
Aremu said, “Nigeria today qualifies as an unofficial global capital of “road accidents”. Every year, over 39,000 Nigerians die from road crashes. In the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated road traffic fatalities in Nigeria at 39,802, while the estimated rate per 100,000 deaths stood at 21.4. Nigeria losses more humans on road accidents than 11,310 deaths reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone due to Ebola epidemic!
“We must halt this road-terrorism, or better still road virus called accident. An accident is defined as happening “unexpected” or “unplanned”. But according to the Zaria Unit Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Abubakar Murabus-Tata, the accident which killed Dominic was as a result of over-speeding, involving two vehicles, (a DAF truck and a Toyota Hiace commercial Bus) and bad road (potholes). Most roads are unmotorable. Drivers are reckless and often our road safety officials are not on duty. When accidents prove addictive as they are in Nigeria, they are no more “accidental”. Addictive accidents mean incidents for which the governments at all levels must be held accountable. These “accidents” are certainly not inevitable. It’s time President Muhammadu Buhari declared emergency on Federal roads. There must be a time frame to fix all major highways and halt the ongoing road-murders.”
Hails Supreme Court Judgement On Bayelsa
Comrade Aremu who is a NEC Member, NLC and Vice President, Industriall Global Union has also hailed the Supreme Court Verdisct on Bayelsa state governorship election. Speaking on the saga in a statement sent to Newsdiaryonline, Aremu said, “Without prejudice to the expected judgement of the Supreme Court on Imo, I commend the Supreme Court, which last Wednesday, upheld its earlier judgement and went further to fine Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) N30 million each for agreeing to file an application for the review of the apex court’s judgment on Bayelsa election.
He added, “It is commendable that for once Supreme Court damned what I see as an increasing dictatorship of some lawyers and desperate politicians which if not checked might undermine democracy.
“I also hail the ousted governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon, for his statesmanship for accepting the final ruling of Nigeria’s highest court, Supreme Court that nullified his victory at the November 16th, 2019 governorship election in the State.
“Democracy tasks all stakeholders to abide by the rule of law if democracy would be sustainable. Some lawyers are turning courts as temple of justice into arena of transactions of market place. Endless litigations over electoral matters must give way to matured political culture which must starts with respect for finality of court rulings. After 20 years of democracy, it’s time to learn from the past experience and avoid the pitfall of how endless litigations, suits and counter suits helped to undermine the first and second Republics.
He recalled that “During the controversial June 12 crisis, for instance the judiciary was central to the political impasse which arose over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was poised to win and Justice Dahiru Saleh, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory was in the thick of it all. Specifically, Justice Bassey Ikpeme who ordered that the election should not hold on the eve of the historic poll, was one of his judges. In addition, Saleh ordered Professor Humphrey Nwosu, the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, to stop announcing the election results almost mid way into the exercise. Both the bar and the bench must help to deepen democracy not undermining it through frivolous transactional litigations.
“Lastly politicians must be serious about democratic process but not too serious such that they can be serious again. Democracy is about compromises. The idea of demonstrations at EU and American embassies to resolve electoral matters is not only ill informed but unacceptable and must be discouraged. Americans would not go to Nigerian embassy in Washington to perfect their electoral processes which indeed are full of imperfections” Aremu said.