In a bid to ensure the safety of Nigerians, Nextier SPD, an international development consulting firm based in Nigeria, has listed about 11 roads that travellers should avoid this festive season in a new study.
Titled ‘Dangerous Highways in Nigeria,’ the most dangerous travel routes in Nigeria stated in the study include the Sokoto-Gusua road, Akure-Akoko road, Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja, Loko-Oweto, Okpella-Auchi-Okene, Obajana-Kabba.
Others include the Okigwe-Uturu road, the Abuja-Kaduna road, Zaria-Kaduna highway, Maiduguri-Damaturu, and the Akure-Ilesa road.
For years, many Nigerian roads have remained vulnerable to armed attacks. Commuters across the country are exposed to violent attacks by gunmen, and the frequency of these onslaughts has become a source of concern to many.
According to the research, December, November, and January are the most unsafe months to travel through these routes.
Through research questions, findings from the study show that December (42.35 percent of respondent) has the highest record of attacks, while 27.06 percent and 18.82 percent of drivers believe that November and January are the second and third most unsafe months, respectively.
For instance, on 6 December 2021, bandits killed 23 passengers journeying from Sabon Birni in Sokoto State. These passengers were singed beyond recognition, according to multiple news reports.
More so, Rilwanu Aminu Gadagau, the chairman, committee on Local Governments and Rural Development Kaduna State House of Assembly member was killed on the Zaria – Kaduna highway just barely six days ago.
Factors like the deplorable state of the roads have aided violent attacks on commuters that result in loss of lives, injuries and kidnappings as Nigeria still faces road infrastructural deficits. The survey shows that 78.83 percent of respondents affirmed that most attacks on road users happened on bad roads against 21.18 percent of responses on good roads.
“Beyond failed roads, other studies have shown that forests possess a high risk for road users, as they provide hideouts for launching attacks in an ambush. 64.71 percent of respondents affirm that most attacks are carried out in road locations surrounded by forests around Nigeria, while 35.29 per cent believe otherwise,” the survey notes.
BusinessDay learnt that the most prevalent threat on roads is armed robbery (58.82 percent) while kidnapping comes at 41.18 percent. In most cases, both the drivers and passengers are equally the main victims of attacks.
Nextier SPD said the poor state of security across highways has negatively affected transportation and travel, as highways are the only way to travel across states in many places and for many who cannot afford air travel, they remain the only option.
The company argued that making highways safer is critical to preserving and growing the economy and ensuring peaceful co-existence, stating that the data will also aid security agencies to identify priority areas and focusing efforts on improving security there.
“The survey information will be available to Nigeria’s security and intelligence agencies in real-time. Nextier SPD will work with these agencies and other stakeholders to ensure the insights are integrated into improving security on Nigerian roads.
“Policymakers will also utilize the data and insights when planning road construction and rehabilitation to focus on priority areas. This data will also inform Nextier SPD’s travel advisory note for the public. This note will enable travellers to know safer travel routes,” the company said.