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UN advocates for improved child safety at 3rd Global Road Safety Week

boboye oyeyemi frsc

As the global community commemorates this year’s edition of the Road Safety Week, the United Nations (UN) has began campaign to draw global attention to the plight of children on the world’s roads towards generating action to better ensure their safety.

This year’s occasion with the title: “Save Kids Lives” commenced on Monday, May 4th, and will end on May 10th, 2015.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), according to a statement by the corps’ Public Education Officer, Imoh Etuk, on Monday, in Abuja, is in pursuant to the UN’s decade of action for road safety.

“This year’s event is further heightened by global statistics on road crashes which indicate that around 186,300 children under 18 years, die from road traffic crashes annually, and rates of road traffic death are three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

In Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Corps’ statistics on road crashes involving children indicate that 1,903 were killed and 8,667 other children were injured in 61,806 reported cases of road crashes between 2010 and 2014. Out of these on fatalities, 1,138 males and 765 female children died in the last 5 years while 5,426 males and 3,241 female children were also injured during the same period,” FRSC said.

It said that the week would feature several events hosted by governments, international agencies, civil society organisations, and private companies, including the delivery of the “Child Declaration for Road Safety” to policy-makers.

“These events will further highlight the World Health Organisation’s package of ten key strategies for keeping children safe on the road.

“Further to this arrangement, in September 2015, all Governments meeting at the United Nations will launch a new set of global Goals for future development. The ‘post-2015’ Sustainable Development Goals will set the agenda for all work, worldwide on international development.

“They will replace the current ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs).  There is therefore a global push for road safety which was not initially included in the Millenium Development Goals, to be integrated and given priority attention across the globe,” it said.

FRSC noted that road traffic injuries have a health burden on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis, saying that this makes the death rate to increase.

“The crisis is most severe in developing countries, which account for 90% of the 1.3 million road traffic fatalities each year. The United Nations has recognised that road traffic injury represents a major public health and development crisis. In the first draft of the new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, Governments have included a target to halve road traffic fatalities.

“The Save Kids’ Lives campaign together with partners around the world is now calling on world leaders to ensure that this target is in the new Goals when they are launched in September 2015. The danger is that if road safety is not included in the Sustainable Development Goals, there will not be adequate support to ensure that road safety is a priority worldwide, and particularly in developing countries.

“As the nation’s lead agency on road safety management, the Federal Road Safety Corps has therefore lined up activities to commemorate this global event, which will commence with a media campaign on Monday 4th May 2015 and later, a mass rally/walk on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 involving school children, youths, Federal Ministries of Education and Women Affairs, in addition to distribution of safety fliers,” it said.

As part of the activities, it said that the FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi. would also lead the corps’ management team on advocacy visits to strategic partners and stakeholders on road safety such as the Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, National Union of Teachers, Federal Ministries of Health, Education and Women Affairs, Federal Character Commission and House Committee on Road Safety.

“In the same vein, The Road Safety Officers’ Wives Association will also use the week to visit orphanage homes while a special Jumat service will precede a church service, as part of activities to further draw global attention to the need for improved safety for children and youths,” the statement concluded.