A dangerous junction.

I stopped at the Durumi junction, waiting for the traffic on Oladipo Diya to clear or slow down before making an attempt to turn left and head towards Kaura market in Abuja. I am particularly scared of that junction which has become even more dangerous following the tarring of part of the road that links it to Lokogoma district.

Durumi junction (with no traffic officers) on Oladipo Diya Street, Abuja. (Photo credit: Pdaimages.)

The work done on that link road has made it an attractive alternative to the Galadimawa Cycle which is bugged down with heavy traffic due to the bridge under construction there. You save a lot of time using the new link road if you find yourself in the Gudu area heading to the Lokogoma axis.

However with the increased vehicular traffic using the link road, the Durumi junction is becoming more chaotic and dangerous. I have called the Abuja Call Centre several times, asking them to reach out to the relevant authorities and have them post traffic officers to that junction. So far, nothing has been done about it.

Durumi junction in a rush hour lockdown. (Photo credit : Pdaimages)

Citizen Musa: Tossed into the air.        

As I was waiting to make that left turn. I saw a Mercedes Benz, a Volkswagen wagon, and three other cars racing towards the junction. The drivers were doing something close to 140 kilometers an hour.

“What the hell?”, I said to myself. How on earth can someone be doing that speed on a street so close to a busy junction?

A few seconds after the Benz whizzed by, Citizen Musa with a passenger on his Okada zapped across the junction. Either he did not look or believed (more likely), that he could pull a stunt like in the movies. His passenger in a split second saw the Volkswagen charging towards them and jumped off the bike. The car missed him by a whisker but picked up Musa and his bike and tossed both about four meters high into the air. When Musa landed on the hard tar he was motionless. That was the second accident I had witnessed at that junction.

I was still where I was waiting to make my left turn but now in shock and a little disoriented. Other cars behind the Benz and the Volkswagen struggled to come to a halt.

A futile quest to understand.              

While others were attending to Citizen Musa, I walked towards the other drivers who barely escaped a multiple vehicular wreck.

“Why do you people drive like this. Where did you learn to drive like this?” I screamed. They all gave me that look of: “Who the heck is this freak.”

I felt like dragging each driver out of their cars and administering them with a “whopper slap”. Something that will remind them of their foolishness of driving with their feet without their brains. As Citizen Musa was being taken to the hospital, I finally made my left turn.

However, my rage kept rising. Why do some of us drive as if we have no sense at all? A car becomes a deadly weapon once the tyres begin to roll.  Why? The smallest car, a compact, weighs about 1,300 kg. That is the equivalent of 26 bags of rice in weight you may be fooling around with like a toy.

Photo credit : medium.com

And as a car’s speedometer rises, so does its capacity to do harm. Many people drive as if they are completely ignorant of this fact.

The Musa Yar’ Adua Expressway is like the German Autobahn to Abuja drivers. (Photo credit : Pdaimages)

There may be no strict speed regulations on Nigerian roads. That does not however absolve anyone driving a car the duty of care. The possibility of damage to body, property and loss of life should be enough to secure a common-sense self regulation.

Some years back, a Minister of the FCT was so alarmed about the rate of accidents that he ordered bumps to be constructed all over the place. However, there was an uproar by motorists that the bumps destroyed their cars. Much later they were removed and our Formula One one drivers once again had a field day.

By the way, where are you really racing to when you do over a 100km/h on a city road? An appointment, office or home? Where are you going that you can’t get to driving at 60, 70 or 80 km/h or at least as traffic demands.

A school bus driver was doing about 70km/h inside my estate when he lost control and ran into an electrical fuse box. The bus, with children inside, burst into flames. It took quite an effort to rescue all them and the driver. The bus was completely razed. Meanwhile the speed limit in an estate should be in the range of 15 -20 km/h. Do you drive above that in an estate?

Two months ago, someone rammed my car right inside a NIPCO filling station while turning off the Airport Expressway side road at an inappropriate speed. He ought to have been down to at least 30km/h or less while doing that turn.  Think of what would have happened that day if there was a fire with so many cars refueling and a truck loaded with fuel standing by.

Abuja has some of the most beautiful roads in the country. Dare devil driving is making the roads unsafe for everyone.

Part of the new and beautiful network of roads in Abuja Business District opened for use a few months ago. Soon, dare devil drivers will turn them into highways of death. (Photo credit : Pdaimages)
The Sunnyvale/Kabusa road still under construction. Yet drivers have begun doing Formula One driving on it. (Photo credit : Pdaimages)

As for Okada riders, what more can one say. They have become agents of injuries amd deaths in Nigeria and will likely remain so in our lives for a very long time. The more reason why we should drive a little slowly whether in Abuja or anywhere else.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that speed kills. Better be late than be the late.. Save yourself and others from preventable death, injury and damage to property.

Photo credit : engadget.com

A prayer for Musa

Let’s hope and pray that Musa survived the accident to know that he is not a spirit who can disappear when faced with danger. Let’s hope he will learn to ride his bike like a normal human with common sense after his recovery. As for the driver who hit Musa, wherever he was racing to now has the luxury of waiting for him indefinitely. He would have had an unscheduled appointment with a doctor and a mechanic. God help him if Citizen Musa passed or passes on eventually.

But then, what is FRSC doing about speedsters on our roads? That is a matter for another day?