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162 Lagos Bus Drivers Tested Positive for Cocaine, Marijuana

Gov. Fashola of Lagos state, South-West Nigeria

Gov. Fashola of Lagos state, South-West Nigeria

No fewer than 162 commercial bus drivers in Lagos State, Nigeria have been tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.

 This was disclosed by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos at a Motor Park Health and Safety Awareness Campaign, put together by the Lagos State Ministries of Health and Transportation in Partnership with Guinness Nigeria Plc at New Garage Motor Park, Bariga, on Thursday.

The governor lamented that several commercial bus drivers in the state drive under the influence of strong alcohol, with 162 of them tested positive to cocaine and marijuana in just two motor parks at Oyingbo and Iyana Ipaja while another 996 commercial bus drivers were tested positive to be driving under the influence of strong alcohol.

Fashola disclosed that since inception of the campaign in 2011, no fewer than 2,500 public transportation and commercial motor drivers had been screened for blood alcohol content, substance abuse, hypertension and diabetes as well as health education and enlightenment.

“The campaign has been taken to Ojota, Iyana Ipaja and Oyingbo motor parks and the screening team included medical doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) and Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) officials and administrative workers,” he said.

 According to him, 884 motor drivers were screened at Ojota Motor Park, out of which 239 of them, representing 27%  were discovered to be hypertensive while 86 people, representing 10% were found to be diabetic; 60 drivers, representing 7% tested positive to substance abuse, and 287 people, representing 32% had excessive blood alcohol level.

 “At the Oyingbo motor park campaign, 988 people were seen while 363 or 37% of the people seen were hypertensive, 156 or 16% had diabetes, 59 or 6% tested positive to cocaine or marijuana, and 494 or 50% tested positive to the breathalyzer. While at the campaign at Iyana Ipaja motor park, 1,025 people were screened and 162 people or 16% had hypertension, 71 people or 7% had diabetes, 103 or 10% tested positive to cocaine or marijuana and 215 or 21% had excessive alcohol in their blood system,” he disclosed.

 He stated the latest campaign, which kicked off on Tuesday had commercial bus drivers tested for high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer screening and providing counseling and guidance for all the park operators, drivers in the park.

“Let us resolve today that we will stop taking a gamble with our lives. Every time you cross the highway, every time you drink ‘Alomo’ and ‘Paraga,’ every time you get behind the steering wheels with drugs in your system, it is like putting a loaded gun to one’s head and wondering if it can kill or not. It is a huge risk to take and we should stop taking that risk”, he urged the drivers.

 Fashola, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire appealed to commercial bus drivers to desist from taking alcohol, drugs or other related substance before going behind the wheel as evidence had shown that road traffic accidents were influenced and precipitated by substance abuse which impaired drivers’ ability to manage and manipulate vehicles well.

 The governor said the aim of the initiative was to reduce road traffic accidents and ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users, adding that the campaign was also aimed at increasing awareness about mental health and what could be done not only to prevent it but also to cure it.

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