By Omamuzo Efidhere





FRSC officials and members of NURTW after the campaign in Ughelli

FRSC officials and members of NURTW after the campaign in Ughelli

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Ughelli Unit has ended its annual ember month public enlightenment campaign in collaboration with Central Hospital Ughelli, with a charge to road users, especially commercial drivers to check their eyes and blood pressure levels regularly.



Giving the charge, Mr. Idris .A. Fika, the Assistant Corps Commander (ACC) attributed road accidents to drivers driving while they are not in good health, under the influence of alcoholic beverages or spirits, overloading, driving with worn out tires, over speeding, overtaking dangerously particularly in sharp bends, non use of seat belts and driving with bad lights at night.



He advised drivers to desist from cutting corners when they want to get driving licence, saying “the official amount of renewal of driving licence anywhere in Nigeria is N6,350 not N3500 or N4500. But if you are applying for a new one, you will have to provide a road safety certified driving school certificate, learners permit and be tested by a VIO official before a driving license will be issued to you. Any driving licence you get from our Ughelli and Oleh office is recognised all over the world because if you run into trouble with the law, and your drivers licence number is typed into our website, all your information will appear. This has helped so many Nigerians obtain driving licence abroad.”



Continuing, he stated that overloading is something that is seriously frowned upon by Federal Road Safety Corps, especially the Delta State Sector Command. “We have declared total war on overloading as it highly intolerable.  Therefore, we advise all commercial drivers that in order to avoid being taken to mobile courts and impounding of their vehicles for days when you ought to be working and making money like others, drivers should avoid overloading because this leads to sudden crashes as a result of tire blowouts.”



He noted that according to law, a driver is supposed to operate on the road with a proper frame of mind as passengers entrust him with their lives. He appealed to drivers to make sure that they are healthy before they take off on the road, saying “if you are sick, do not drive or take passengers. Instead, handover your car to another competent and healthy driver for the period you are sick to drive so as to still make money to support your family. Do not drink and drive, if you must drink, do not drive, make sure that your vehicles are in top conditions and your tires in good shape to withstand the rigours of the ember months as traffic density are higher and movement is very rapid and vehicles are used more often than other seasons of the year.”



On his part, Dr. Vincent Ofuonye, a Consultant, Physician and Cardiologist, stated that the management of the Hospital, decided to incorporate optical and blood pressure check into the Federal Road Safety Corps annual ember month public enlightenment campaign as it is of paramount importance because hypertension was secretly killing a lot of people without detection until it was too late. He explained that hypertension is the commonest cause of stroke, heart failure and kidney failure.



“In the medical parlance we call it a silent killer because somebody’s blood pressure may be very high and he does not know that he has hypertension until it may be too late. The purpose of this exercise is to benefit the commercial drivers because they do not have time to go to the doctor’s office for routine checkups unless they are brought in, in a stretcher and by then there may be little or nothing the doctor can do to safe him. Today we recorded cases where the blood pressure was 181 over 131, 150 over 131 which is too high. These drivers can collapse and go into unconsciousness at anytime and if they are carrying passengers, those passengers’ lives will be in danger.”



He however promised that those “drivers referred to the hospital because of high blood pressure will be re­-evaluated, some of them may have high blood pressure today due to stress and tension. But if after further and proper evaluation and their blood pressure is still consistently and persistently high, we will start managing them and management will run some free test for them to find out if they have any complications.”



NURTW Otovwodo Motor Park, however appealed to the Unit Commander to do something fast about broken down road signs on the highways, point out bad spots and accident prone areas to FERMA for quick repairs and clear heavy bushes on sharp bends so as to reduce accidents in the ember months.  Amongst the medical team were Dr. Ojarikre Patrick, OD and Mr. Johnny David an Ophthalmic Nurse.