November 27, 2020

Nigeria’s potholed roads among world’s most deadly 


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MOWE, Nigeria (AP) — The tractor-trailer lay alongside the busy Nigeria expressway like a child’s forgotten toy, its cargo of cosmetics smashed on the hot, uneven strip of asphalt road and its driver left bleeding with a head wound.

Burned-out metal carcasses of crashed minibuses and wrecked cars line the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a rutted and potholed highway that connects two major cities in Africa’s most populous nation.

Horns screeched from drivers waiting impatiently to pass, as those on the other side of the highway sped on without slowing for the axle-jarring bumps in the uneven lane.

Despite decades as an oil producer, Nigeria’s roads remain neglected scenes of needless carnage. And despite the World Health Organization warning that Nigeria’s traffic fatalities among the highest in the world, the deaths continue unabated.

“For now, it’s a death trap,” said Abdul-Azeez Ibraheem, a lecturer at Lagos State University who studied the traffic crashes.

Africa as a whole has one of the highest road traffic death rates in the world, the WHO’s 2009 study determined. Nigeria saw more than 47,800 people killed in traffic crashes in 2007 alone, according to WHO statistics. That put it at No. 3 in the world in the number of fatalities, behind China and India.

Paved roads only constitute 15 percent of Nigeria’s total road network, and crashes happen with a horrifying regularity.

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