Moved by the spate of road accidents occasioned by the upgrade and road expansions across the state, Oyo state chapter of Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has collaborated with a Non Governmental Organisation, Gates of Praise (GOP) Foundation, Nigeria on massive marking of roads with zebra crossing signs across the state.
The latest marking which held opposite the main gate of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan was observed by top officials of the hospital, NAWOJ, GoP, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Orientation Agency (NOA) among others.
The top officials who took turns to carry out the symbolic marking of the road at a brief ceremony said the move is so important in the face of reckless driving by many drivers and hardship faced by pedestrians to access the road, especially to the hospital.
The zebra crossing commissioning which was flagged off by the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Abiodun Otegbayo was also attended by GoP Founder, Mr Akinwale Laosun, NAWOJ chairperson, Comrade Jadesola Ajibola among others.
According to the NAWOJ chairperson, the zebra crossing became necessary in front of UCH, going by the influx of people crossing the road to access the healthcare facility, adding that NAWOJ is not only doing it for UCH as an organisation but for the safety of Nigerians considering the efficiency of UCH to the people.
She said, “considering the numbers of people crossing this road to access the healthcare facility, we decided to do the zebra crossing so that it will be easier for our people to cross conveniently and safely.
“After our discussion with the founder of Gate of Praise (GOP) Foundation Nigeria, Mr Akinwale Laosun, he gave us his support to ensure the safety of lives of our people because we know that UCH is not only rendering service to Oyo state residents alone, but Nigeria and the world at large.
“This is not the first place we are marking. We have done this for about ten public and private schools across the state and also inaugurated the road safety clubs so that students can have easy access to their schools during session and we are still doing more.”
Speaking in the same vein, GoP Founder, Laosun who was represented by the NGOs spokesperson, Mr Yinka Adeniran, noted that the organisation decided to support the course because of its belief in the essence of life.
Laosun explained that, people using the roads on wheels must also learn to respect those on feet by giving them a right of way as fellow road users, adding that people must learn to respect the use of zebra crossing as a sign of respect and culture in saving lives.
He assured that the organisation will do more for public and private schools in addition to the about ten that had been done in the last three months, so that road users especially students will be more respected while on the road sides to cross the road to their schools.
He called on well meaning Nigerians to join hands and contribute their own quota in order to make Nigeria a better and beautiful place to live and not leave everything to government alone.
In his reaction, UCH CMD Prof Otegbayo noted that the zebra crossing will reduce accident in front of the hospital, adding that the government should also enlightening the people on the rule of zebra crossing because most of the road users do not obey the rule.
While thanking NAWOJ and GoP for the gestures, the CMD recalled the situations that staff of the hospital and other people coming to access the facility were knocked down by reckless motorists.
He said, “There is a need to educate road users, drivers, and riders on the importance of obeying zebra crossing rules, the zebra crossing will help a lot because many members of our staff used to come through Mokola axis, therefore they dropped here, and need to cross the road.
“There were times reckless drivers driving with speed knock down our staff and even other people coming into the hospital for either treatment or to take care of their patients. But we know that this new effort will help us address such situations henceforth.”
The representative of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Akanbi Aderogba, who is also the Assistant Director, Planning, Research and Strategy, said that the agency has embarked on aggressive sensitization programs to educate the people on the need to follow the rules of zebra crossing for the safety of their lives while crossing the road.
“Our agency have a good working relationship with other security agencies in the state, and to let both the drivers, riders and road user to know the importance of zebra crossing.”
Deputy Corp Commandant, FRSC Oyo State Sector Command, Olalekan Morakinyo said the zebra crossing is meant to provide safety for the pedestrians on the highways.
The FRSC boss who used the opportunity of the event to educate road users including drivers and pedestrians noted that wherever there is a zebra crossing, motorists and drivers must stop at least one meter before the zebra crossing, for the people to cross the road and that no driver must overtake.
He however lamented that most of the drivers are not used to stopping at zebra crossing point which often times led to some accidents.
He said “People crossing the road at zebra point should also look well to make sure that the drivers has stopped before they cross, this is one of the ways to protect lives of the people moving on the highways.”