The Federal Government has said it is working on a cycling policy to promote green transportation and ensure that roads are transformed to enable cycling in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, said this during a cycling rally organised on the occasion of World Bicycle Day on Monday in Abuja.
The rally was organised by the Indian High Commission in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Commission.
Zakari, who was represented by Dr Anthonia Ekpa, Director, Road Transport and Mass Transit, said the ministry had a policy to ensure that non-motorised transportation was “keyed into the national transport system”.
He said: “In Nigeria, we have not focused on cycling. So what we are saying now is that cycling is something that must be and our roads in Nigeria are made for cars.
“The ministry has a policy to ensure that non-motorised transportation keyed into the national transport system.
“We are actually working on the cycling policy; we just received the information from the Road Safety to ensure that the policy is robust.
“United Nations encourages cycling and the world today has found that cycling is what we call green transportation and falls within the ambient of encouraging the environment to be tidy, people to be healthy and the poor to be noted.”
The Permanent Secretary also added that the ministry was collaborating with FRSC, the Cycling Federation of Nigeria and the Indian High Commission to sensitise Nigerians to the benefits of cycling.
He said: “Apart from that, it is safe. So what the day means for the world is to ensure that cycling becomes the mode of transportation.”
He also charged the Transportation Growth Initiative, FRSC and the ministry to work together to establish a place where people could also learn how to ride.
Speaking with newsmen, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, said the day was also part of activities to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Thakur added that the day was also to unite with cyclists and enthusiasts globally “in the spirit of common celebration and sustainable development”.
He said: “Mahatma Gandhi learnt a lot from Africa and his experience with the colonisation in Africa gave him a new understanding and vigour.
“He took up the Indian freedom struggle with greater vigour and dynamism, he also taught us about non-violence and sustainable development, particularly preserving and protecting our environment.
“In this context, with the 150th anniversary, we join hands with the Cycling Federation of Nigeria as we seek prosperity and sustainable development together.”
The rally also proceeded to the European Union Commission where the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano Pontesilli, said the EU was also pushing for the construction of cycling roads in Nigeria.
“The European Union is on the forefront of financing projects to substitute fossil fuels with non-polluting fuels.
“We now have to push also in Nigeria for the construction of cycling roads so that people will have a special place to ride going back and forth. So we need infrastructure and the good will.”
The United Nations General Assembly, in April 2018, declared June 3 as International World Bicycle Day.
The resolution for the day recognises the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle as a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally-fit sustainable means of transportation.