Motorcycle accidents have become the most frequent form of accident and have led to many people losing their lives or suffering other forms of damage. The situation is not different in Ibadan as most cases treated in emergency wards across hospitals are as a result of road accidents involving motorcycles popularly called okada.

In a bid to fulfill its mission of assisting the government and filling the vacuum in the system, the Junior Chamber International, Ibadan, led by its 2017 president, JCIN Adelayo Abass, engaged in a research to find out the reason for prevalence of okada accidents and seek ways of reducing same.

They found out that over speeding, unlicensed and untrained motorcyclists, influence of alcohol or drugs, impatience by motorcyclists, over loading, wrong over – taking, bad roads, ignorance of traffic laws among others are the causes of accidents. And in a bid to reduce this to the barest minimum and in compliance with global campaign against over speeding, JCI, Ibadan at the weekend held a sensitization programme.

The sensitization programme which was part of the JCI Safe Highways Project, one of the sustainable projects of the JCI Ibadan, sensitized okada riders within Ibadan on the hazards of speeding, impatience and flouting traffic rules among many other attitudes that may cause road accidents and was one of JCI’s means of contributing its quota to the society by filing perceived gaps between the government and the governed.

And in line with the overall mission of the JCI which is to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create a positive change, JCI Ibadan in partnership with the Oyo State Ministry of Works and Transport, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Egbeda command and the Nigeria Police, Oyo state, put together the 2017 edition of the Safe Highways Project.

The all-encompassing sensitization programme was not about mere talks about dos and don’ts of driving, JCI members also did the refurbishment of some zebra crossings and sensitized people about the importance of the zebra crossing sign and what it means to pedestrians and motorists.

The Zebra crossing refurbishment points include BCGA Apata, Premier hotelJunction and Orita Mefa and the executives of the organization under the chairmanship of JC Adetunji Idowu ensured that the exercise was not only a success but people also understood what it was about.

The sensitization programme for okada riders which became an interactive session was done at the car park of the Immigration Office at Agodi and it was anchored by officers of the Egbeda command of the FRSC led by officer Rita Omowa, who represented the commandant while other officers which includes officers R.A Oni, R.A Alade and F.A Akinsipe gave talks on use of helmet, life span of okada, replacement of parts, importance of obeying traffic rules, understanding road signs and the need to avoid speeding.

The Okada riders from diverse units which includes Oju irin, bus stop, Ashi, Basorun, Akobo and Beere among others were warmly received by the JCIN Adelayo Abass led executives which includes the immediate past president, JC Olawale Bakare, JC Adedayo Kayode, JC Marquis Oluwafemi (first vice president), JC Adeola Adelabu (second vice president), JC Dimeji Adekanmbi (general legal council), JC Habeeb Oyewola (general secretary) and JC Olaide Olatinwo.

Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, JCIN Abass said the programme is sequel to the 2016 edition under the presidency of JC Olawale Bakare and is their contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. “JCI Ibadan carried out its first road safety assignment with emphasis on trailer and truck drivers last year with over 200 trailer and truck drivers sensitized on safety use of the roads to reduce road accidents.

“This year, JCI Ibadan in partnership with FRSC, Ministry of Works and Transport, Oyo State Department of Highways and the Nigeria Police carried out the Safe Highways Project with the refurbishment of zebra crossings at three locations in Ibadan with the aim to sensitize road users on the use and importance of zebra crossing, a type of pedestrian crossing used in places around the world.

“Its distinguishing feature is alternating dark and white stripes on the road surface, resembling the coat of a zebra and it gives priority to rights of way to pedestrians. We did this because we found from research that

Nigerian motorists largely have zero-tolerance for pedestrians at the crossing. So this project is borne out of the need to ensure that all road users arrives their destinations safely as many motorists did not go through the normal process of securing a driver’s license.

“We also engaged on this sensitization exercise for motorcycle riders to lay importance on the need to use the road with other road users,  make use of the speed limits,  say no to drinking while driving or riding and  adherence to the use of safety gadgets among many others. And I appreciate everyone that contributed financially, morally and physically towards the success of this project,” she stated.

The leadership of the okada riders represented by Waheed Akinola and Teslim Alabi thanked JCI for the awareness programme, adding that they had lost many members to accidents and are willing to follow the rules to ensure such is reduced to the barest minimum and promising that when JCI comes for the follow up, they will see a change in attitude.