By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has urged the Federal Government to provide adequate rail infrastructure across the country to prevent accidents.
Mrs Mfon Usoro, President, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.
Usoro also called for clear demarcation of responsibilities and efficient between road and rail authorities to forestall accidents along railway crossing.
She commiserate with the families that lost their loved ones and prayed for speedy recovery for the injured commuters involved in the train collision that occurred in Lagos on Thursday.
Usoro called for proper funding of the railway sector.
According to Usoro, the present system of shared financial responsibility for the provision, manning and maintenance of the safety infrastructure at intersections appears cumbersome and leaves room for lack of accountability.
“With proper dimensioning of roles, adequate funding should be provided for in the budget of the Nigerian Railway.
“There are minimum safe distances that must be observed at stops and intersections.
“A train requires a minimum of 320m adequate distance (safety over-run). This implies that to stop a train in motion, the driver must apply the brake about 320m to the stop point.
“It is an extremely difficult feat to manoeuver a successful emergency stop for a moving train with shorter safety over-run.
“This underscores the imperative of installing functional and well manned safety infrastructure at every infrastructure,” she said.
Usoro, however, called for erection of barriers, construction of road bumps/speed retarders and presence of law enforcement agents at the level crossings to complement the work of the gatekeepers.
She stressed the need for aggressive safety awareness campaigns targeted at commuters by the relevant agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Commission and state traffic agencies.
On long-term solutions to prevent rail accidents, Usoro called for reduction of intersections and separation of routes for rail tracks and roads.
“We commend the Federal Government for the speedy set up of an investigative panel on the accident.
“ The CILT reiterates its call for the government to set up an independent body that will be tasked with investigation of all transport related accidents as recommended in the National Transport Policy.
“It is not best practice to expect the agencies directly or indirectly involved in accidents to investigate itself.
“The establishment of the proposed National Transport Safety Board aligns with global practice and is long overdue.
“We call on the Honourable Federal Minister of Transportation, most respectfully, to submit the National Transport Policy to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” she said.
She said that level crossings were essential safety infrastructure for free flow of transportation between two or more modes of transport.
“The road is designed, constructed, and maintained by a public authority separate from the Nigerian Railway who owns, maintains the rail tracks and operates the trains.
“Best practice dictates that rail specific infrastructure such as barriers, gate house, rails and level crossings with adequate signage and audio warnings be provided and maintained by the Railway Authority,” Usoro added.
CILT is the world’s leading international professional body for logistics and transport industry.