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There are mounting concerns that total cost of ownership of new and used fleet vehicles by corporate institutions, commercial vehicle operators and individual owners in Nigeria are increasing as the day rolls by as a result of the negative economic effects of potholes and failed portions on the road which contributes to the wear and tear of the vehicles.
Almost everyday, there are dehumanising stories of what commuters go through on these bad portions of the roads dotted with gullies and craters, be it with commercial vehicles, company vehicles used in taking members of staff to and from work and individual privare car owners.
Experiences shared by commuters plying these routes have always left a constant sad reminder in the minds of travellers of a government at both the federal and state levels that have remained very insensitive to the sufferings and pains that travellers along this route go through.
Safety experts who studied the economic effects of bad road networks in the country estimates that, about 51% of vehicle users in Nigeria will experience one or more damages to their vehicles every month.
Reports also indicate that annual losses resulting from vehicle maintenance due to bad roads is valued at over N133.8 billion, apart from other economic losses from bad roads like air pollution, delayed movements, armed robbery and incessant accidents on the roads which has led to untimely loss of lives and properties.
At every point in time a vehicle is under stress as a result of bad effects of decrepit portions the road, the major safety components of the entire suspension systems made of the break systems, the bushing, the lower arms and the stabiliser linkages becomes the first spare parts that will be affected.
This ugly picture indeed should be of great concern not only to owners and operators of these vehicles, but should also be of serious concern to the government as to the implication it has on the health of commuters as well as cost on vehicle maintenance.
While the gory tale of growing effects of abandoned bad segments of the roads has remained a national disgrace and a hydra headed problem that cuts across the entire length and breadth of the country, some roads in parts of the country has always made news headlines.
A roll of the affected roads is legion and many times not properly documented by the authorities concerned. These includes, but not restricted to the Abuja-Keff-Lafia road, Enugu- Onitsha road, Aba-Portharcourt highway, Kaduna-Abuja road, the Lagos-Badagry.
From the interpretation of a data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, and the Federal Road Safety Corps, every four hours, no fewer than two lives are lost on the roads. And every year, about 20,000 of the 11.654 million vehicles in the country are involved in accidents, causes of some of which are as a result of dilapidated sections of the road.
According to the NBS, the number of lives lost to road traffic accidents from January 2013 to June 2018 are as follows: 2013- 5,539; 2014- 4,430; 2015- 5,400; (FRSC): 2016 – 5,053; 2017- 5,049; January to June, 2018- 2,623.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is still confronted with the challenge of making movement of goods and passengers by rail functional with billions of naira already spent on the ongoing construction of a standard gauge rail from Lagos to Ibadan with Kano as the final destination as well as the Lokoja-Itakpe-Warri rail corridor.
It is hoped that providing an alternative and functional rail system, including water transportation will reduce the number of wear and tear on the vehicle, lower maintenance cost and drastically reduce the rising rate of road traffic crashes on the roads.