The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Eleme Unit Command has organized a programme tagged: ‘2019 Child Safety Campaign’ for school children in Eleme local government area as part of activities to commemorate this year’s Children’s Day Celebration.
The event held at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Akpajo Eleme featured varieties such as Quiz and Dance Competition amongst participants drawn from 14 different Primary and Secondary Schools in Eleme Local Government area. Teachers and parents were also invited to cheer up their kids and wards.
In a welcome address by the Unit Commander, FRSC, Eleme Unit Command, ACC Arinze Igwe, he said the theme of this year’s Global Road Safety Week is “Children, Leaders of Tomorrow through Safety, Consciousness/Awareness”.
He used the platform to educate participants on the categories of the Federal Road Safety Corps, saying it was established under three tiers, the Regular Marshals, the Special Marshals and the NYSC/Road Safety Club with the mandate to prevent or minimizing road traffic crashes on the highways; clearing obstructions on any part of the highways, educating drivers, motorists and members of the public on the proper way of using the road, and also enforcement of road traffic laws and regulations etc.
He said FRSC Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the fifth United Nations Global Safety Week (UNGSW) from 06 to 12 May, 2019, adding that the theme which reads thus: “The implication is that we need a stronger leadership to advance road safety in our countries and communities”, poses questions such as: What is your leadership role on risks factors like deliberately driving against or facing an oncoming vehicle, over-speeding, drunk driving, failure to use seat belts, child restraints, motorcycle helmets, a motorcycle carrying up to five or more school children to schools; a school bus with hackney permit to carry 18 persons, carrying 30-40 children at a time etc.
He said as a school leader, company executive, church leader, one must decide against these risk factors or come up with policies against them.
His words: “According to World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are now the leading killers of children and young people aged 05 to 29 years. Globally, of all road traffic deaths, pedestrians and cyclists account for 26% and motorcycle/tricyclist riders and passengers account for 28%. The risk of a road traffic death remains three times higher in low income countries than in high income countries, with rates highest in Africa and lowest in Europe.
“What do we do to checkmate these ugly trends? We need to voluntarily obey all traffic rules and regulations, change is desirable: Attitude/behavioral implementation of youth safety education in schools, establishment of Road Safety Clubs at various schools: Safety awareness programmes/advocacy at churches, mosques, motor parks, market places, companies/organizations etc., stronger legislation and enforcement of traffic laws can be useful antidote in reversing the ugly trend.
“Children are of inestimable value to any country. Where children’s life is threatened as a result of accidents or otherwise that country is heading for extinction and this demand for stronger leadership for all of us. We must all rise to the occasion to become leaders in Road Safety. I therefore call on every one of us to take necessary steps to ensure that children are safe in any environment they find themselves, as we consciously believe that children are leaders of tomorrow and hope of every nation”, he concluded.
Role play were demonstrated where children were taught on how to cross the road especially for those community schools that don’t have buses; when crossing the road they should not back the vehicle but they should face the oncoming vehicle, so that they can censor if the vehicle is coming their side so as to keep off.
They were taught about the 3 traffic lights and their indications; Red means stop, yellow means get ready and green means go. They were also taught about the Zebra-crossing and to always put on seat-belts for adults, and for children to always put on child restraints and sit at the back, and never should parents allow their children to sit at the front but their place should be at the back seat.
School Bus drivers should always be careful in their driving and never over load the school children and that those who drive should avoid driving while drunk or answering calls while driving because it causes accident on the road.
In an interview with Inside Eleme, one of the sponsors of the event, Mr. Ogbuji Innocent, General Manager, West African Container Terminal Onne Sea Port, said: “Today Federal Road Safety, Onne Command is organizing an enlightenment programme for the school children to commemorate the Children’s Day and it’s a very welcome development.
“I think what children and adults need is to be disciplined, discipline in the sense that this rules are already in place, it’s just obeying them that matters so if the children can start learning how to obey the rules and regulations concerning safety on the road, in the house, wherever you find yourself, it’ll go a long way for them to make it a culture, so that when they grow up, it becomes part of them, they can always obey it without someone telling them to obey it. For the adults, they need to change their attitudes, so that they’ll influence the children positively, a lot of adults doesn’t obey the safety rules on the road, in the house, they don’t apply safety and these are the things the children look and watch and also learn from them so that if they are able to change their attitude, they’ll influence the children positively”, he concluded.
Superintendent of Police, Ismaila Yahaya who represented ACP Betty Ottimenyini, Area Commander, Eleme Area Command spoke on why the Eleme Area Command decided to partner the Road Safety Corps on the occasion. Hear him: “Actually, they organized and we find it necessary to back them up because we are doing the same job, to protect lives and property because they do their own particularly on the road, that is why we say it’s good for us to be part of it.
“If the general public abide by the rules and regulations of the road, it’s going to make our work very easy and better because if at this age, they are given this kind of lecture at this early age and they grow up with it, you’ll know we’ll have a better society and we’ll have great leaders, it will be good for us, it’ll reduce the job of what we’ve been doing because all those children as they grow, they know what to do on the road particularly”, he said.
He further advised, “When I’ll start to talk, I’ll focus on the teachers, I will tell them to take all the lessons in writing and then continue to teach the children at home, not necessarily only here, so that by the time they grow with it, we’ll have a better society and it’ll be good for all of us”, he concluded.
In an interview, ACC Arinze Igwe, Unit Commander, FRSC, Eleme Unit Command spoke on the essence of organizing the Road Safety Program. He said: “It is celebrated globally, today as Children’s Day, the essence of it is to understand and appreciate the rights of children and also to understand that parents has a role to play to make sure that children become leaders of tomorrow, just like what we have today, Road Safety Campaign with the theme: Children, leaders of tomorrow through safety consciousness and awareness, so we are creating awareness, we were told to make them to become conscious of their safety, so that they’ll grow and imbide the culture we are impacting on them today.
It is children because children are the leaders of tomorrow and anybody who do not take children very seriously is because he’s not building for tomorrow, so we captured the children because we want them to grow and become better than the adults because when the adults gets old, the children takes over; so, that is the idea, catch them young, make them good leaders, let them be conscious of themselves, their environment and grow with it”.
On Road Safety Club in Schools, he said: “What we want to do because we’ve told them and they have agreed we should come, the essence of establishing Road Safety Club is to know how to have Road Safety Vanguard in Schools, we have a club that champion anything that has to do with safety in the schools, so many of them has indicated interest that they would like to have Road Safety Club in their Schools, so we are going to establish it, it’s just like the debating societies, the essence is to catch them young, so that we’ll have people that we can rely on.
“And my advice to parents and every one out there is that, as parents, educate your children on how to use the road and don’t allow your children to be overloaded because you want to save money, you will hire Okaka Riders to carry up to 5 or 6 children at a time with one bike but all over the world, every motorcycle carry one person with helmet, so parents should also be in the vanguard, in the leadership of educating their children to imbide this security consciousness because no parents want to lose the child or their children in road traffic accident”, he cautioned.
The children displayed a lot of activities, playlets, dance, quiz competition; questions and answers about Road Safety were thrown to representatives of the 14 schools that were present. At the end of the quiz competition, Mirabel Yakubu of Unibek College of Science and Technology came 3rd, Dennis Emmanuel of Comprehensive High School, Alesa Eleme came 2nd position while Daniel Amos of De Prime PA Model School, Ogale Eleme was crowned winner of the quiz competition. Prizes were given to all the winners.
In an interview, one of the participants in the quiz competition, Miracle Ernest Ogolo of De Prime PA Model School, Ogale expressed how she feels, she said: “I’ve had fun and one of the programmes that I enjoyed most was the Quiz Competition and my school came first, so it makes me happy. I have learnt a lot in this programme and that one of the Road Safety rules or signs are the traffic lights, which Red means stop, Yellow means get ready and Green means go and as I came here, I’ve benefitted from the road safety much more, in fact, I love the programme because it made me learn that we should always inform our parents that whenever they want to drive that they should put on their seat-belts and also a child shouldn’t sit on the front seat, that’s what I have benefitted from the program. I will love to belong to the Road Safety Club in my School”, she declared.
She expressed gratitude to the organisers of the programme, promising to put into practice all that has been learnt.