By Amos Aar
RIMA Deck, a branch of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has advised drivers against reckless driving under the influence of alcohol.
Rima Deck gave the caution Saturday when they held a sensitization campaign for drivers at the High-level motor park, Makurdi, Benue State to mark the 70th anniversary of the association tagged “Weekend of Service to Humanity” during which they invited Road Safety to speak with drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Capoon in charge of Rima Deck which covers the whole of Benue State, Obudu in Cross River State and some parts of Nasarawa state, Dr Nicholas Akan, while addressing drivers and officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) said the Weekend of Service to Humanity organized by NAS was holding simultaneously across the world till 11th December, 2022 and different activities were being carried out as chosen by various branches to mark the 70th commemoration.
In Benue State, Dr Akan said, “our target today is the man and woman behind the wheels. He has to be mentally alert to navigate his vehicle to any safe destination with passengers. We decide on this location to see how we can minimally contribute to safe driving especially within the ember months”.
The Rima Deck Capoon asserted that alcohol is a depressant drug which slows down the central nervous system, including the brain and so, “driving under the influence of alcohol and other harmful substances can impair your vision, reduce your concentration and vigilance and leave you with divided attention”.
Dr Akan who warned that driving under the influence of alcohol can cause accidents that lead to paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage and in some instances, death urged that “if you must drink, then drink water”.
Highlighting the impact of Rima Deck in Benue state, Akan said NAS which was founded in 1952 as a university campus confraternity in Premier, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, has over the years touched the lives of immediate community through numerous humanitarian projects in line with the mandate of the organization.
According to Akan, on 18th October, 2019, the association carried out free medical to diagnosis and made referrals for Hypertension and Diabetes at Kenville Park, Highlevel Makurdi, Benue State.
He added: “on December 10th 2019 the deck wrote and obtained permission to visit Correctional Service in Obudu, Cross River State Nigeria, to commemorate with the 2019 World Human Rights Day. Food items, toiletries, detergents etc were presented to, and received by the Correctional Service Obudu, Cross River State.
“On 16th December, 2019 we paid courtesy call to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Makurdi, Benue to foster collaboration on issues bordering on security.
“On 17th July, 2020, we undertook a one-hour phone in programme on enlightenment and awareness campaign on realities of Covid-19 on Harvest FM 103.5 in Makurdi, Benue State.
“On 22nd January, 2022, we undertook medical outreach at the Primary Healthcare Centre Obudu Urban by testing the target population for blood pressure, blood glucose, Covid-19, and HBSAg. Furthermore, Rima Deck used the opportunity to create awareness, educating the chosen population on the existence and prevention of the above-mentioned diseases.
“On 19th November, 2022, we partnered with Magna, Carta Deck and Beatrice Diana Ogar Diabetes Memorial Foundation (BEDOMEF) to provide a Public awareness, free diabetes screening and distribution of free testing kits at Kagbong Healthcare Centre, in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State”.
The Rima Deck Capoon explained that the National Association of Seadogs is a registered humanitarian organization which has grown to an international organization with branches in 36 states of Nigeria including Federal Capital Territory, South Africa, UK, Republic of Ireland, USA, Japan, The Netherlands and Canada. Their mission is to carry out public interest advocy and activism, investigative research, education, public enlightenment and litigation to resist social degradation and ills that militate against the attainment of a just and modern society.
Also speaking, Road Safety Route Commander, HY Umar, revealed that out of three causes of road crashes; human mechanical and environmental, the human factor is the major cause of accidents due to driving under the influence of alcohol and urged motorists to desist from the habit.
As part of measures to curtail the menace of reckless driving occasioned by alcohol intake, Umar said Road Safety uses Breathalyzer to detect if a motorist is drunk while driving, adding that such an offender is fined N5000 or he alternatively serves one year in prison. “So, it’s better to avoid it,” he cautioned drivers.
Earlier in a welcome address, NURTW Chairman, High Level, Makurdi branch, Comrade Majeed Ahovi said, he has been cautioning his drivers not to drive when they are drunk and charged the them to take the orientation seriously.
Responding separately on behalf of High Level Makurdi drivers, Mohammed Musa appealed to Road Safety to reduce excess charges on them on roads while James Imo said the Corps should ensure that only reliable breathalyzers are used to check alcohol intake by drivers. According to Imo, sometimes drivers are wrongly fined owing to the use of what he called “fake breathalyzers.
On his part, Musa lamented that when Road safety Marshalls charge them high on goods they convey in their vehicles on roads, it makes them to drink sometimes to calm their anger and they also speed to make brisk business especially during festive periods to recover the money collected from them.