Thursday, March 2, 2017 3:33 pm
By Daniels Ekugo
Diageo, a global leader in the beverage alcohol industry and parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc has partnered the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to deliver a workshop that aims to promote road safety and sustainable transport systems in Nigeria.
The two-day workshop which held at the University of Lagos brought together various stakeholders who play a part in developing transport systems and promoting road safety in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Mr. Sesan Sobowale, noted that by partnering UNITAR, Guinness Nigeria/Diageo shows its continued commitment the responsible use of alcohol and the prevention of alcohol-related road traffic accidents. He said: “We believe that a single death caused by drinking and driving is one too many and can and must be prevented. We are encouraged that over the last few years, the number of alcohol related fatalities has fallen significantly in many countries. However, there is more to do and we are committed to playing our role in eradicating harm caused by drink driving in Nigeria. This new partnership with UNITAR is important as it will allow us to work together to deliver the global goal of halving drink driving road traffic deaths”.
The event was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mallam Sabiu Zakari who represented the Minister for Transportation, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Ogun State command, Commander Clement Oladele, the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, Sustainable transport experts from Kennesaw State University, Georgia USA, and officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps. The conference was also attended by transportation and road safety resource persons from Benin Republic, Ghana, Cote d’Ivore and Togo.
In their submissions, speakers outlined strategies that will help Nigeria create a sustainable transportation system while ensuring the safety of road users.
Country Head and Resident Representative of UNITAR in Nigeria, Dr. Larry Boms, noted that road safety is a top priority in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020.
“I am looking forward to bringing to fruition this new initiative between the United Nations and Guinness Nigeria/Diageo. Achieving the 2030 Development Agenda and its different goals will only be possible through innovative partnerships with the private sector such as this one, where different stakeholders join forces to reach specific beneficiaries and targets by sharing their respective expertise and resources” he said.
In his remarks, the Sector Commander of FRSC, Ogun State, Commander Clement Oladele, who represented FRSC Corp Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, observed that about three percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product is lost to road crashes every year and stressed the need to address the human factor element in road safety interventions.
The workshop was organized following a strategic global partnership that Diageo signed with UNITAR in May 2016 entitled “Road Safety Initiative for Cities”. Under the partnership Diageo will partner UNITAR to build institutional and individual capacity needed to reduce traffic death and injuries, and improve road safety globally.
UNITAR entered into this partnership with Diageo due to the company’s strong track record in supporting programmes and policies to address drink driving. Diageo has a long history of working to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and crashes and supports numerous drink drive prevention programmes around the world. These range from supporting high visibility enforcement through random breath tests in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Mexico and China, to funding safe rides and free public transportation, and supporting laws to establish maximum blood alcohol concentration levels in countries where none exist.