NIGERIA – Star Lager maker, Nigerian Breweries has together with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) held a mega rally on road safety in Lagos in a bid to curb the number of road accidents in the country.

According to Beverage Industry News, the Don’t Drink and Drive rally campaign was the second of the three mega rallies scheduled for this year.

The campaign aims at discouraging drink driving and improving safety on Nigerian roads.

It is also part of Nigerian Breweries’ long-term sustainability agenda, tagged “Brewing a Better World” and advocates for responsible consumption of alcohol.

Speaking on the matter, Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Jordi Borrut Bel said since its inception in 2008, the programme has held rallies in 42 cities and towns across the country, having reached over 20,000 drivers and other road users.

“For the first time since the initiative started, we also launched the campaign at a National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) camp in Umuahia, where we involved the youths as change agents to imbibe and drive the message of the campaign,” said Bel.

FRSC Sector Commander for RS2.1, Lagos Sector Command, Corps Commander Hyginus Omeje, explained that during this period of the year, the Corps doubles its efforts in actualising one of its core mandates of educating the public on proper use of the highways to curtail accidents.

He said drink driving has been a major factor responsible for increasing accidents on the country’s roads.

According to him, analysis of crashes recorded in Lagos State over the past two years shows that in 2016, a total of 441 reported cases were recorded with 971 injured and 165 deaths; while in 2017, 425 cases recorded shows 1,005 victims injured with 113 deaths.

However, from January to September of this year, 304 cases were recorded with 691 injured and 95 deaths.

Omeje disclosed that a baseline study on 2,600 persons from December 2015 to September 2018with the digital evidential alcohol testing machine shows 247 positive results of drink driving, while 2,353 tested negative.

Based on the study, 180 cases involved commercial vehicles, representing 72.8%; 65 were private vehicles indicating 26.3%, while two were government vehicles marking 0.8%.

In Nigeria, legal limit for alcohol consumption is 0.05g/100ml breath alcohol consumption, and a contradiction to this will attract a punishable conviction with a fine of US$13.72 (N5,000), or one-year jail term, or both.

The new crackdown on driving under the influence of alcohol will be heightened under a new strategy dubbed ‘Operation Cobra’.