GOVERNMENT SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
The Unfortunate Accident at the Waterside Bridge Ogbor Hill, Aba: Unveiling New Measures at Improving Public Safety on Abia Roads
1. The Abia State Government notes with great regret, the unfortunate accident that occurred on Tuesday, 14th November 2023, at the Waterside Bridge in the Ogbor Hill area of Aba, involving a heavy duty truck and several commercial and private vehicles at around 8: 00 am.
2. The Government hereby extends its heartfelt sympathies to the families and relatives of the victims, praying for the peaceful repose of the soul of the deceased and quick restoration to health for the injured.
3. The State Government under the leadership of Dr.Alex C. Otti, OFR, has set appropriate machineries in motion for identifying, and reaching out to the families of the victims to sympathise with, and offer all necessary support to them.
4. The Governor has assured that the State Government would stand by the victims and their families during these difficult times and would do everything within its powers to lessen the burden on all affected by this regrettable tragedy.
5. Through its various agencies and parastatals, the Abia State Government would carry out a detailed investigation to identify the immediate and remote causes of this most recent accident at the Waterside Bridge and seek the input of all concerned stakeholders to improve safety records along that particular stretch of road as well as all other public roads in the state.
6. In the light of our preliminary findings, a few initiatives to promote the safety of the public across all roads in the state would go into effect immediately.
7. The first of such measures shall be the setting up of a taskforce which shall work on a 24-hour basis, everyday, in Aba and Umuahia with a direct mandate to remove all damaged or immovable vehicles on the road as quickly as a report is received. This shall apply to heavy duty, commercial and private vehicles. The cost of removing such vehicles shall be borne by the owners. More details shall be made available soon.
8. The taskforce shall also work to ensure that all container-laden trucks coming into the state meet relevant safety standards and do not constitute a threat to the safety of Abians. Those found in violation of standard regulations on the management and safety of containers-in-transit shall be made to face the full wrath of the law.
9. Previous directives restricting the movement of heavy duty vehicles within Aba and Umuahia metropolis between the hours of 7am and 8pm are herby restored with immediate effect. Government will work with all relevant stakeholders over the next few days to identify suitable parks within the two cities where affected vehicles can park and wait until the appropriate time when they can move without constituting a threat to the safety of other road users. Security agents are hereby directed to ensure full compliance.
10. The Abia State Ministry of Transport and other relevant agencies of the Government have been equally directed to immediately activate all existing vehicle road worthiness and safety policies and enforce the laws as may be necessary to ensure safety on our roads, especially as the yuletide approaches.
11. The State Government has also directed that all transport unions in the state must immediately initiate safety trainings for their members. We expect all the transport unions and associations in the state to comply with this directive.
12. Lastly, the State Government wishes to assure Abians in particular and Nigerians in general of its commitment to public safety, particularly on the roads. The ongoing road rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in all parts of the state, especially in the urban areas, bear eloquent testimonies to our determination to make our roads very safe for users. More will be done in the weeks ahead as His Excellency, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, works to achieve his zero-potholes policy on major roads in the state, importantly in the heavy traffic zones.
Mr. Dodoh Okafor,
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communication.