In #Nigeria Zebra Crossings Are For Only Zebra’s Crossing

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zebraWhen I was in primary school, they had just completed the painting of several Zebra crossings along Allen Avenue and Opebi areas. Our mum was driving us on that particular day when we approached one of the newly painted Zebra crossings and then she told us … and I can never forget

“If you walk on the Zebra crossing, cars will automatically stop for you.”

Well several months after that, the driver or our parents forgot to pick us up from school (St. Leo Catholic School), so we had to walk all the way from Toyin Street to Adeniyi Jones, needless to say no cars stopped for us at the Zebra crossings. It was like the Zebra crossings were invisible. In fact it seemed like cars moved faster in the Zebra crossing zones. Except that you happen to be a Zebra … then they will stop!

But it is not that we have bad drivers, we just are not trained drivers.

People often say that if you can drive in Nigeria you can drive anywhere in the world … “huh” is my reaction … because, actually if you can drive in Nigeria, chances are that you can’t really drive anywhere else. Because other places have rules, and without an understanding of the rules you can’t drive there.

But it is not all our fault…the government has a hand.

They (the government) wake up one morning and paint lines on the road put up signs left right and center, sometimes the signs vary from local government to local government depending on who got the contract. Its like a hodgepodge of road paint. Some roads have lanes, others don’t have lanes. And soon people are ignoring the rules not because they want to but because the implementation is inconsistent and confusing.

Now back to the Zebra crossings…

The reason Nigerian drivers will only stop for Zebra’s is because there is no adequate training. And the people meant to implement this training (traffic wardens) are clueless most of the time except when there is a financial benefit. If the traffic wardens understand that their role is not to prey on drivers mistakes but rather to educate and teach drivers, we might see some change.

But for now and to be safe … dress like a Zebra before you cross!

twitterWritten and Drawn By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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25 comments on “In #Nigeria Zebra Crossings Are For Only Zebra’s Crossing

  1. Good one! When I was younger we used to have all these educational segments on how to read road signs on TV. We should have those again. They were brilliant!
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  2. Debola on said:

    Correction mate, its “St Leo’s Catholic Private School, Ikeja” NOT St Leo Catholic School – stop defaming my alma mater

  3. Motunrayo on said:

    So true! Was arguing with my fiance on this issue of zebra crossing of recent. It happened that we were both walking together. On getting to a zebra crossing, I ran instead of walking even though at that moment there were no vehicle moving. He started yabbing me that I’m a bush girl, that I don’t need to run, all I need is to walk. I told him that in this part of the world, I.e. Nigeria, you don’t/cant walk on a zebra crossing. Just standing at the busstop waiting for bus, people get hit, talkless of walking across the road. Most drivers in Nigeria, especially, Lagos, are not educated. They are maniac when it comes to driving. You won’t know or see them coming, it’s now when you want to cross, you will see them almost brushing your side, if you’re lucky. Once they are behind the wheel, their ‘human sense’ is gone! Common traffic lights, they disobey and you expect them to obey zebra crossings? I doubt it.

  4. Amiphat on said:

    Indeed, its only for Zebras.

    My friend got thrown a couple of feet in the air after security guards at the bank she worked had stopped vehicles @ the crossing to let her cross but some idiot from behind decided the cars that stopped were wasting his time.

    My pretty friend has scars on her face today and has moved to a state with less vehicular traffic.

    As for Nigerian drivers, only God knows when the spirit of indiscipline shall be exorcised.

  5. Oluwafisayomi on said:

    Seriously naija needs d drivin education especially peeps in rural/ghetto areas.I was born nd raised in Ajegunle,so I knw wat I’m talkin abt.

  6. Idris Olayinka on said:

    I have seen a bus (danfo) driver knock a pedestrian down at a zebra crossing…when he wanted to narrate his own side of the ordeal to the police,he described the crossing lines as “Tom-Tom” advert and didn’t know why he should at d lines…am trying to say that drivers who voluntarily or involuntarily go to driving schools refused to/don’t get proper trainings while the government too (Lagos government as an example) lined the major roads of the city with the theme mascot of a last sports carnival,confusing drivers the more.I have seen zebra crossings at odd places including bends,U-turns and roundabouts exits,thus putting pedestrians at the risks of being knocked over…

  7. Yea true…the only way to cross the zebra crossing is to dress like a zebra,nice one!Apparently,its not only zebra crossing rule that is ignored even traffic light is another case…like seriously ,what do u expect from people who never attended driving schools yet have drivers’ license…

    • Diddie…the traffic light one is actually improving. Now I see Nigerians stopping even at night with no car around. What breaks my heart is when I see police officers zoom past traffic signs when citizens are observing the lights. Kills me…when the law is breaking the law all rule of law is at threat.

  8. habeebpain on said:

    Do you watch the series “Don’t Drive Here”? They should do an episode on driving in Nigeria.
    The roads are terrible, the drivers are insane and the vehicles (public transport most especially interstate buses) are carriages to the underworld.
    What surprises me is when passengers encourage drivers to break traffic rules.

    As for me, if road never clear pata pata I no dey cross. Even if it takes 5 minutes.

    Mr Ofili I like your drawings. Reminds me of childhood.

  9. Actually it’s not that Nigerian drivers lack knowledge of traffic signs and such. It’s just that they don’t care. Forget the man that said tom-tom, he probably does know that it’s a zebra crossing.
    Laws are arbitrarily enforced in Nigeria and people try to get away with breaking rules and laws. It’s a human thing really. I live in the US and in my experience, the only reason why people don’t go over the speed limit is the fear of that speeding ticket. In my state, there’s a bridge over water where the popo cannot hide. See speeding. But as soon as they get off, see slowing down. Because a police officer is hiding somewhere with laser in hand.

  10. “it’s not that Nigerian drivers lack knowledge of traffic signs and such. It’s just that they don’t care. Forget the man that said tom-tom, he probably does know that it’s a zebra crossing.”

    Per your statement you are countering yourself somehow. You said that it is not lack of knowledge, but in the last part you said “he probably does not know” seems like lack of knowledge at the end of the day.

    • Manny on said:

      Actually I wrote “he probably does know”. And I do believe that a lot of people know but choose to ignore because there are no consequences to their actions.

  11. Like Emeka said, drivers actually move faster at zebra crossings. As for I ignore them when I want to cross, if them jam me, wetin I go talk. It’s sad that they are so many drivers (public and private) who know nothing about traffic rules even with all the structures put in place for them to learn.

  12. My school (Obafemi Awolowo University) is the only place where all traffic rules are obeyed most especially the zebra crossing. Come see students ad they are strolling and gisting as they are walking on the zebra crossing. Once I leave school and get back home to Abeokuta, I have to consciously detach myself from the school setting where traffic laws are obeyed and abide by the wrong laws been in use so that I don’t meet my maker long before I planned. One of the problems is that you call a brother or an uncle to to teach you how to drive disregarding the laws. One day while travelling with my family friend, I saw a peculiar sign and I asked him what it meant but he said he didn’t know what it and his driver didn’t know either. These are people that have been driving even before my parents thought of conceiving me. The sign was strange to me and it was the only time I saw it anywhere so I really don’t blame them for not knowing cos they were surprised at seeing it just as I was. They later said I shouldn’t mind the signs as the government put signs up were they aren’t even needed. Not long after did we see an example of such signs that even to me the uninitiated it was obvious that the sign had no business there. God save this nation

  13. Idara on said:

    You’re right about what people say about being able to drive anywhere in the world. A Nigerian friend once told me that in the USA, if a Black driver is aggressive, insulting you, while on the road, that person is definitely a Nigerian. And another friend in the UK, said Nigerians cause the most road traffic accidents.

    NB: the plural of zebra is zebras, not zebra’s.

  14. alegtony on said:

    Good piece.
    I don’t really pay attention to zebra crossings when am on foot because I know the #consequences.
    However, if could get a zebra costume then I would give it a try.

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