12th May, 2015
At least 442 commuter bus drivers in three motor parks in Lagos State, western Nigeria, have tested positive for hard drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana and others and drive under the influence of these dangerous drugs, the Lagos State Government has revealed.
Reports from the Lagos State Ministry of Health revealed that of the 801 bus drivers tested for hard drugs, 442 of them tested positive for cocaine, marijuana, morphine, opiate, ketamine and others.
This represents 55 percent of the total number of drivers tested and showed an increased intake of hard drugs by drivers while conveying passengers on Lagos routes.
The tests were carried out in Mosafejo, Mushin and Oshodi/Obalende Motor Parks in December 2014.
According to the report made available to P.M.NEWS, the number of drivers that tested positive for using hard drugs while driving in 2014 is far higher than the same number discovered when a similar test was conducted in 2013. In 2013, out of the 434 bus drivers tested for hard drugs, 74 of them were found to be driving under the influence of cocaine, marijuana and the rest.
Also, in 2012, of the 820 drivers screened for hard drug intake, 215 of them tested positive.
Similarly, many of the bus drivers have tested positive for alcoholic intake while behind the wheels across the state.
The test conducted in three motor parks in December 2014 showed that of the 929 drivers screened, 202 of them tested positive for taking alcohol while driving.
In 2013, of the 440 commercial bus drivers tested for alcohol intake, 226 of them tested positive, representing 51 percent, while in 2012, of the 885 drivers tested, 215 of them were under the influence of alcohol while driving.
Of the 930 bus drivers screened for diabetes and hypertension in 2014, at least 220 of them tested positive. In 2013, of the 576 screened for the same ailment, 130 of them were positive, while in 2012, at least, 233 of the 959 screened tested positive for diabetes and hypertension.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, the Motor Park Health and Safety Programme was an initiative of the Health Ministry, whose main aim was to reduce the prevalence of road traffic accidents by ensuring the safety of the driver, passengers and other road users.
He said the Motor Park Health and Safety Programme was flagged off in 2012 following the high number of deaths due to road traffic accidents, saying that to date, 1,985 commuter bus drivers and other transport workers have been screened.
“It is a multi-sectoral effort with the Ministry of Transportation as partner. The focus is on diagnosis and management of hypertension, diabetes and eye screening in addition to substance and alcohol abuse among road transport workers.
“Three motor parks missions were carried out in the last one year at Mosafejo Motor Park between 8 and 9 December, 2014; Mushin Motor Park between 10 and 11 December 2014 and Oshodi/Obalende bus terminus between 15 and 18 December, 2014,” he stated.