– by Ishmael Esenam
It started in 1974 as National Road Safety Commission, hopefully, under the military administration of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and was later, disbanded in 1983, during the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s military administration. It resurrected in February 1988 under the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, with Prof. Wole Soyinka as the pioneer Corps Marshal.
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) simply known as Road Safety, among other things, was created to ensure a total accident free Nigeria. It was aimed at ensuring that roads are safe for road users by making recommendations to higher authorities when need be for roads to be properly cared for; train and equip road users with safety precautions; certify those eligible for driving with what is called driver’s license. The corps also has a duty to remove crashed vehicles on the road to avoid incessant crashes. The list of their duties continues…
The question is, are they living up to these responsibilities? Take for instance, the issue of training and retraining of drivers. The corps in one of the acts that established it in 1988 is to partner with registered and recognized drivers’ colleges to ensure road users, especially drivers are well trained and handed out driver’s licenses. Examine carefully, and you will discover that they are either unaware of this responsibility or are not interested in such task. What they do is to tell you that acquiring a driver’s license is not up to N10,000, but when you go to get yours, you end up spending more than that. Some even issue out fake driver’s licenses.
On the issue of removal of crashed vehicles on the roads, the corps is totally not up and doing in this regard. On our roads, so many crashed vehicles are left for days, weeks, and sometimes, even months. These have claimed many precious lives!
On the issue of making recommendations to higher authorities when need be for roads to be properly cared for, the corps is not doing well in this regard, too. Road worthiness of the vehicles that ply our roads are to be checked by the corps, and if they are doing this, loss of lives and property on the road would have been reduced to a greater extent.
So, what are the men on the road called Road Safety good at? They are good at harassing road users who do not know their right. Their first question is, ‘where is your driver’s license?’ Do you know that they themselves do not have driver’s licenses? Dare ask them one day, ‘oga let me see your own’.
These men have totally forgotten their role in ensuring safety on our roads. They are not an agency to generate funds for the government as they think they are. The only paramilitary organization that is saddled with such responsibility is the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), which is under the ministry of finance. Road Safety men should not rush to ‘book’ those they call ‘traffic offenders’ to pay fine and then release their vehicles to them. They should be focussed on ways to nib crashes on our ways in the bud, not fighting , harassing or running after road users. Corps Marshal Boboye Oluyemi Oyeyemi, please take note.