All over the world, roads are prime infrastructural contributors to micro and macro-economic development of any nation. As a matter of fact, it is the back-bone of commerce, enabling passenger and freight movement across the nation. Nations expend huge resources to develop this infrastructure for its economic value. Especially in Nigeria, as indeed most economies in sub-Sahara Africa, where passenger and freight movement depend 75 – 80% on road for movement & transportation Individuals and corporate bodies depend on it for survival. Checks by Economic Confidential show that globally, nations continue to invest in providing and sustaining the potentials of transportation to drive economic development.
On the other hand, analysts posited that the beauty of this resource has been tainted by growing fatal incidents, highest among under-developed and developing nations. For these analysts, road accident has attracted global attention so much so, that the United Nation General Assembly, leading other stakeholders adopted the period 2011 – 2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety (May 11, 2011). The action period is dedicated to the collective efforts of nations towards reducing global road traffic fatalities by yr.2020. Nigeria is ranked the second highest among rated 193 countries globally, for road accidents.
Experts also believe that most of the accidents that occur on Nigerian roads are usually caused by fake and substandard tyres. The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, in an interview with Economic Confidential, ascribed predominance of road accidents to about five reasons bordering on human elements. According to him, the exit of local tyre manufacturers, Dunlop and Michelin, opened the local market to indiscriminate importation of tyres. Consequently mischief makers took advantage to import expired and compromised quality standard tyres, exposing Nigerians to enormous dangers. At the users’ end the FRSC discovered and recorded several cases of mis-application and usage resulting in accident. For instance, the commission recorded cases of passenger transport buses, loaded with passengers, was running on agricultural vehicle tyres, clearly marked 30km/hr strength. Such situation opens up road users to danger of accident.
He noted that some of the tyres imported are not tropicalized. These are tyres that are designed and manufactured for cold region, imported for use in temperate region like ours, exposing users to expansion and blow-out due to heat/weather pressure. Such tyres expand during usage due to heat and thermal expansion, resulting in excessive pressure, blow-out, accident and death.
Added to that, he continued, “over 80% of tyre users do not know how to identify expired, damaged and compromised quality tyres. Most vehicles on our roads run on expired tyres without knowing it. Running on expired and damaged tyres on our predominantly bad roads, can only lead to accidents and death. The Corps Marshall acknowledges the efforts of standard organisastion of Nigeria (SON) at checking the presence and use of substandard, damaged and expired tyres on our roads, as contributory factor to the rate of accident on our roads.”
The corp marshal also disclosed that between 2011 and 2015, no fewer than 5,288 road crashes across the federation resulted from either worn-out or sub-standard tyres.
In recent years, about 70 road accidents resulted from burst tyres, stressing that non-compliance, arbitrary gauging of tyres without recourse to manufacturer’s specification were fast becoming a norm.
“Control of tyres coming into the country is made difficult as there are no longer tyre-manufacturing companies in the country, re-boring/patching of worn-out tyres instead of purchasing new ones, pot holes and failed portions of the road affect the lifespan of tyres,’’ he noted.
To check the menace, the corps has begun massive arrest and prosecution of erring vehicle owners with a view to ridding the roads of poorly made tyres. The Corps Marshall stated that the agency’s efforts to stem the tide include ‘’pre-trip vehicles’ inspection programmed at motor parks aimed at encouraging drivers to inspect their vehicles before embarking on a journey, the commercial drivers are not being educated on the need to examine their vehicles regularly even as drivers are encouraged to undergo these preliminary tests, thus improving fleet regulation and sustain stakeholders’ consultation, collaborating with states on improved road safety administration as well as improving enforcement and public education’ among others.”
Also speaking on this issue, Alhaji isah Akanbi Mohammed, the president of the association of tyre dealers of Nigeria, African tyre village, international trade fair complex Lagos said; “the believe in some quarters that most accidents on Nigerian roads are caused by tyres is wrong, take for example, when we lost one of our minister in person of James Ocholi, his wife and son of blessed memory some people said the cause of the accident was as a result of bad tyre while it was discovered that his driver do not even have a driver’s licence. Therefore, it is wrong to attribute accidents that occur on Nigerian roads to tyres along. Most of the accidents are caused by bad roads and often times attitude of the drivers.”
While making his submission on What he think can be done to avert the menace of fake and substandard tyres in Nigeria, he pointed out that,
“the sectoral groups on road transportation in Nigeria most come together and chart a way forward. I was suppose to have a meeting with the Lagos State sector commander of the Federal road safety commission on this issue before I receive a message from him that he will not be on ground. I think there is over concentration on private car owners. It is important that the focus should be on commercial vehicles, because research has shown that most of them don’t use original tyre thereby exposing people live to danger.
On how to create awareness on the danger of using tokunbo tyres “the president said that, “we are working with the standard organisation of Nigeria (SON) on that aspect, SON is a responsible agency, we have done something in Abeokuta, Ewekoro, and Lagos. What they need to do as an agency, is to ensure that every vehicle using tyre in Nigeria must use original.
In another development, Dealers in substandard and adulterated products have been described as terrorists in view of the danger their activities pose to the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
The director-general, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma made this assertion at a public sensitization workshop organised for over 3000 manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and market associations by Christabel International, a Non-Governmental Organization on consumer advocacy at Onitsha, Anambra State recently.
According to him, the supply of substandard or adulterated auto and aviation spare parts, medical devices, construction materials, food and drugs among others pose great threat to the health, safety, environment, property and lives of the citizens.
Represented by the director of operations, SON, Engr. Felix Nyado, the chief executive officer, CEO, stated that the negative impact of substandard or adulterated products to life and the socio-economic wellbeing of the country is very significant and needs effective prevention mechanisms.
Aboloma enumerated some of the electronic platforms being deployed by SON to tackle the menace of substandard products circulation as including the mandatory conformity assessment programme (MANCAP) for locally manufactured products; SONCAP, for certification of imported products from source; Product Registration for documentation and traceability of all products in the market and Library services for access to relevant standards for local production import and export with ease among others.
The SON boss announced the recent deployment of standards on e-marketing for products traded on the web as well as the adaption of the Global Standard (GS) solutions by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to counter the growing issue of counterfeiting. The solutions, according to him will provide unique identification keys to manufacturers and businesses that will help improve collaboration, traceability, transparency, security and visibility within the supply chain in real-time.
He itemized the expectations of SON from manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and market associations in the “war against substandard and adulterated products.’’
Through the leadership of its Director-General, SON has effectively employed the veritable scheme of product certification for the enforcement of both high standards and control of quality of made-in-Nigeria goods through the award of Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) “mark of quality” to outstanding products.
He disclosed that the mandate of his organisation as commissioned by the federal government is to set standard and also rid the country of substandard tyres.
His words: “Our commission is to remove substandard tyres from Nigeria and those that have lasted more than four years, which is the life span of a new tyre. We are also empowered to call to order drivers who are using substandard tyres, or to hand them over to security agents if they refuse to heed warnings. Importers of substandard tyres are killing the business and have succeeded in putting genuine tyre-manufacturing companies in Nigeria out of business.”
Speaking during the SON-and-tyre stakeholders-walk-for-safety across Lagos, he revealed that only 20 per cent of tyres in the country are road worthy.
He said the nature of tyres to car accidents should be known by all as five million expired tyres has been seized by the agency, according to him, people import substandard products because the system had been bad for a while and people need to unlearn certain things.
He said: “Most vehicles do not meet the tyre pressure certification, and statistically tyre pressure has a lot of impact on the life and safety of the tyre and yet I’m told 20 per cent of tyres around the world meet the certification for pressure.”