My Thoughts On FRSC Past And Present | Independent Newspapers Limited
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My Thoughts On FRSC Past And Present

Posted: Aug 2, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Safe Drive

Today’s topic is not mine. It is borrowed from a lovely write-up written by one of our very dear pen pusher-Duro Onabule in the Sun Newspaper of July 17,201 titled, FRSC PAST AND PRESENT.

This write-up is not a reaction to the issues raised in the piece which are no doubt numerous including the need for the Corps to bring back one of its noble initiative-speed control, meant to check excessive speeding which, even the Corps acknowledges as one of the major causative factor responsible for deaths and injuries on our highways and a justification for the soon to be implemented speed limiter on vehicles.  While I maintain that this is not a reaction to the piece, I will however, attempt to correct some information contained in his write-up.

I must state here that I was triggered to do this piece with the borrowed heading with slight modifications for several reasons. The first  is that  I see  his write up as  a wakeup call to those of us charged with the responsibility of saving lives. Coincidentally, it  was published on the same day when as Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of Zone 7 comprising the Federal Capital Territory and Niger State, I was busy monitoring a mobile speed patrol initiated by the Zone since December 2014 as a strategy to curb increasing speed related road traffic crashes within the Zone with specific reference to the Abuja Kaduna corridor which ranks as one of the crash prone routes. The second reason is that within the hierarchy of the Corps, we acknowledge the need to address speed related crashes on our highways even in the face of dwindling resources necessary to sustain this novel and best practices .The third is that we are equally concerned with the perception that the FRSC past is more glorious than it’s present.

This concern was better captured by the immediate past Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Osita Chidoka who throughout his seven years tenure maintained that the glory of FRSC does not lie in its past but lies in its future. This perhaps prompted him to reel out several initiatives meant to color a more glorious future that recognizes that the challenges of today  no doubt differs from the challenges of the early years of the Corps in its sophistication and complexity. One of the highlight of this is the World Bank funded  Safe Corridor project which has delivered a country capacity review, acquisition of a number of patrol vehicles,bikes,ambulances and capacity building program that has taken Road Safety from a rule of a thumb  road traffic control organization  to a modern road safety administration that encompasses safety engineering, road safety audit, data driven  road safety education, scientific accident investigation and to a  structured vehicle data base arising from the new number  plate and biometric based drivers license ,of which the Italian Police ,in a letter to FRSC ,acknowledged as being of higher  standard than most European countries drivers license

The same trust is the focus of the Boboye Oyeyemi leadership which explains why within the Zone 7 Command, we have since last year brought back mobile speed control that involves the deployment of two to four patrol vehicles complimented by at least two of the patrol bikes provided by the World Bank with the sole aim of cutting down road traffic crashes which between January- June 2015 in the Federal Capital Territory stands at 648 reported crashes resulting in 182 deaths. During the last sallah break, I personally led the team along the Zuba-Abaji road with coverage provided by Nigerian Television Authority. Within this period, no death was recorded except those that occurred at night when we do not operate along the highway because of the inherent risk involved. Incidentally, it was in the course of the patrol, that I stumbled on the piece by the respected veteran and I must doff my cap to him for reminding us of the need to bring back the speed control initiatives.

In my piece titled, The World Bank ,ECA and FRSC,published a fortnight ago I captured some of these initiatives but would gladly mention one or two but before I do this, please permit me to run excerpts of the July 17 piece which I said I find very interesting  thus; ‘‘The Federal Road Safety Corps was establish ONLY to reduce alarming fatal accidents on Nigerian Federal and state highways rather than the self imposed greed of revenue generation…With the new Federal Road Safety Corps, the mandate remained the same – to substantially reduce fatal road accidents on Nigerian roads. For the first time, there was sanity on all roads. Whether as marshals or commanders, the strategy of the FRSC men was simple. Be a driver or vehicle owner, everybody on the highways, federal or inter-state roads, would not dare overtake a corps marshal or commander whose official car, so clearly marked, usually and deliberately limited himself to at most one hundred kilometers per hour or even less.

The message was clear. Any driver overtaking a Federal Road Safety Corps speed controller must have exceeded the mandatory limit of one hundred kilometers per hour on Nigerian roads. The culprit was easy to be arrested and prosecuted. Accordingly, the pile of vehicles was always behind the vehicles of the FRSC operative while immediately ahead of him, the road was very clear. Consequently, there was never the high rate of reckless driving and untimely deaths of passengers in other vehicles or those standing by.