Follow up on the High-level Meeting in Nigeria

Nigeria was one of 73 Member States that made a statement at the High-level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety, one of 32 (44%) whose statement was delivered by a Minister, Ministry or road safety official, and one of only 10 (14%) that mentioned domestic government funding for road safety.

Alliance member Greenlight Initiative has been advocating with the Nigerian government both in the run up to the High-level Meeting to encourage them to make a meaningful statement, and now it has concluded to ensure that the commitments in the Political Declaration are put into action.

We spoke to Simon Patrick Obi, Executive Director at Greenlight Initiative about how the NGO is making sure that momentum from the High-level Meeting is maintained and turned into meaningful action.

“We are doing several things,” says Simon. “Firstly, we have shared the Political Declaration among government officials responsible for road safety, NGOs, and the UN Decade of Action coalition, a multi-sectoral group includes government officials, NGOs, and private sector organizations. This has given us an opportunity to address counter-arguments, and to clarify and explain the contents.”

“Secondly,” he continues, “we are planning an interactive dialogue including the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, who gave the statement at the High-level Meeting, the Minister of Transport, and the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps. We will invite NGOs, decision makers, and parliamentarians responsible for road safety. At this workshop, we will share the Alliance’s NGO analysis and explain the Political Declaration and what they, as a UN Member State, have committed to.”

“Thirdly, we will use our position on government road safety committees to present the Political Declaration and the analysis to stimulate commitment and accountability.”

Simon knows that there are challenges. Nigeria is a big country and while road safety commitments have been made and budgets allocated, he says “the action does not equate to the size of the country.” In his view, the High-level Meeting has helped create awareness and understanding of the issue and solutions, but those that attend the High-level Meeting “are speaking from the periphery; they are not into the deep issue.” Therefore, those making the speeches do not fully appreciate the solutions that must be implemented to address it. The Safe System approach, for example, acknowledges that human mistakes should not result in death. Yet, many Nigerian decision makers, like those around the world, seek to put the emphasis on the actions of road users and do not involve them in the design of roads that could keep them safe.

Simon says, “Now, civil society must push and promote the political declaration as well as the very important analysis of the political declaration which was developed by the Global Alliance for Road Safety NGOs in order to get government on their toes to match their words with actions.” He continues, “results might not come immediately but NGOs must follow up until we see results.” Read more about Greenlight Initiative HERE.