The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other traffic law enforcement agencies have, in the face of allegations of violent enforcement of traffic regulations, reassured motorists of comportment and civility by their personnel In the discharge of their duties.
In a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria across the South-West states of Nigeria, namely, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara, the agencies and other road stakeholders expressed different views on the issue.
Mr Joshua Adekanye, the Sector Commander of FRSC in Oyo State, said that personnel of the corps were not allowed to chase or harass motorists while trying to enforce the law.
Adekanye urged motorists to report any personnel harassing them, promising that the command would not hesitate to deal with such official.
Similarly, SP Adewale Osifeso, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Police Command in Oyo State, said that the command frowned at the infringement on any of the fundamental human rights of the citizens.
Osifeso, while blaming some offenders for obstructing officers from discharging their duties or preventing them from being arrested, however, sued for the cooperation of all.
He said that men of the command would always remain professional in the discharge of their constitutional duty.
Meanwhile, in Ibadan, Dr Wole Ogunseyinde, the Chairman, Board of Management, Ibadan Anglican Diocese Hospital, urged the VIO, FRSC and the police to focus more on road management, as their primary assignment.
Ogunseyinde said that their focus should be more on maintaining free flow of traffic, compliance of people to traffic laws, preventing and anticipating danger points that might impede smooth traffic flow.
“Sadly, they are preoccupied with finding faults with tyres, driver’s licence, waste bin and fire extinguisher; all to make money for the organisations or themselves.
“There is need for a rethink, re-orientation and re-organisation of these outfits,” he said.
However, Prof. Lameed Gbolagade, former Head of Department, Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management; Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Ibadan, called for the punishment of officers culpable of violence or misconduct in the discharge of their duties Such officers, he said, should be punished under the law of the country.
“Whenever there is any introduction to the rules or laws of traffic, the citizens must be given sufficient time to make adjustments before it becomes an enforceable offence,” he said.
A commercial driver, Mr Adigun Saka, also condemned the acts of throwing stones, chasing or pointing of guns at motorists by officials of FRSC, VIO and police, all in a bid to force motorists to stop.
Saka said that these acts, and other related ones, had often resulted into accidents, with attendant loss of lives and property.
In his contribution, Mr Jeleel Abioye, Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Osun, said that members of his association in recent times have not experienced or recorded violent conducts in their dealings with personnel of the FRSC, VIO or other law enforcement agencies.
“Since I became the chairman in Osun, we have always had cordial relationship with officials of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), the FRSC and the police.
“Although, we have rogues within our fold, just like the road safety, VIO and the police, but we always follow civil channels in resolving any form of altercation we may have with law enforcement officers.
“Like the FRSC, whenever any of our members commit any offence on the road, they report such a member to our association and we always fish out the erring member to face punishment.
“Likewise, when any of the officials of the FRSC, VIO or the police harass our members on the road, we report them to their superiors and they are punished appropriately,” he said.
Also, Mr Fatai Salako, Secretary, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said that commercial drivers know how to sort themselves out when they run into trouble with road traffic authorities before it degenerates into violence.
“Commercial drivers are working to make money, so they will not want anything that will disrupt their operations.
“Again, the leadership of the union have good working relationship with the police, the FRSC and the VIO.
“We hold meetings with them from time to time, where they always tell us to cooperate with their officers on the road and to always report any misconduct from their officers toward our men.
“We don’t really have any problem with them, except with some of them who may want to be mischievous; and we, usually, report them to their superiors,” he said.
However, Mr Ahmed Umar, the Ogun Sector Commander of the FRSC, told NAN that officials of the corps in discharging their duties, often faced different provocative instances from members of the public.
Umar, however, explained that the officials had been trained to be civil and to always maintain decorum while discharging their duties.
“The FRSC is the most polite, the most civil law enforcement agency to motorists and other road users in the country.
‘There are provocations, but we tell them not to allow their emotions to becloud their sense of reasoning.
“They have been trained to guard against such provocations and not to engage motorists or defaulters in physical combat.
“We have also been trained not to be weak or subject ourselves to ridicule or needless embarrassment in the course of discharging our duties,” he said.
In his contribution, Mr Tiwalade Akingbade, Chairman, Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Ogun, called for the regular training of traffic enforcement officials in interpersonal relationships for optimal performance.
Akingbade alleged that some officials of the concerned agencies often maltreat erring members of the public while enforcing traffic rules.
“Officials of the police, FRSC and VIO need to undergo periodic trainings on how to relate with members of the public in the discharge of their duties.
“They need to realise that they will meet with different people with different character in the course of discharging their duties, they should, therefore, learn how to remain cool, but principled in the face of provocation,” he said.
He called on the leadership of the agencies to ensure that their officials continued to resist the temptation to abuse their privileges as law enforcement officers.
The RTEAN chairman said that there should be effective internal disciplinary measures to check such acts and change the perception of the public concerning the agencies “On our own part, we organise periodic trainings on traffic rules and regulations for our drivers, but the traffic agencies often demand bribes from us, and if such is not given, they often resort to force or unnecessary arrests,” he said.
In Ado-Ekiti, Mr Taiwo Ojo, Public Education Officer (PEO), FRSC, Ekiti Sector Command, said the command would not tolerate any misconduct in the line of duty alien to the culture and tradition of the FRSC.
Ojo said officers of the command have been warned to maintain high level of discipline, and not to assault or manhandle any member of the public in the course of maintaining safety on Ekiti roads.
“The sector command, in recent times, has not received any report of its officers, assaulting, rough handling or addressing members of the public in manners that can bring disrepute or not acceptable to the ethics and conduct of the operatives.
“Everyone in FRSC, particularly in the state command, knows the implications of being involved in conducts that can tarnish the image of the corps in the public.
“None of our members of staff will want to put his or her job on the line, because they all know that it is a grievous offence; it is not pardonable to assault members of the public for whatever reason,” Ojo said.
Meanwhile, a police officer , who pleaded anonymity, lamented that some drivers were in the habit of flouting traffic rules and regulations.
According to him, majority of road users, usually, disregard laws guiding the road, hence, “we tend to use iron hand in ensuring that they obey and comply with all stipulated laws.
“It is not in our constitution to enforce by violence.
In fact, we are not trained to do so, but when our people are daring and adamant, we don’t have an option than to apply hard measures on them; just to make sure they comply with stipulated laws and orders to ensure a sane society.
” NAN, however, reports that some commercial drivers in Ikole-Ekiti accused traffic agencies of neglecting their statutory duties for making illegitimate money; thus making illegal extortion and bribery their major activities.
One of such is Mr Sola Fasakin, who alleged that FRSC officers in Oye-Ekiti were fond of extorting money in the range of N100 to N1,000 from both commercial and private motorists and motorcyclists.
Fasakin noted that any attempt by a motorist to argue with them would resort to the seizure of the car key, the vehicle, driver’s license and other particulars.
“It is quite unfortunate that FRSC officers in Oye-Ekiti, who ought to uphold traffic regulations and ensure safety on our highways, are now taking money as a daily toll, and anybody who fails to cooperate will be delayed unnecessarily.
“Also, the police officers along Ayegbaju-Ekiti road are always bent on collecting money from both commercial motorists and motorcyclists, without carrying out proper checks on the vehicles,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, another motorist, Mr Kunle Ajibola, alleged that some traffic officials abused their privileged position and extort money from motorists, especially from commercial drivers.
According to him, the patrol team leaders stay inside the vehicles, carefully parked by the roadside, while their officers negotiate amounts to be collected from helpless motorists.
In view of this, he appealed to the federal and state government to curb such excesses and violent conducts on the highways.
A legal practitioner, Mr Temitope Omotayo, did not also spare the alleged corrupt officials.
Omotayo said men of these agencies had neglected their primary assignment of enforcing traffic rules and regulations and had become ”savagely cruelin their operations.
” According to him, since technology takes the lead in enforcing traffic rules, the government should, therefore, provide adequate modern facilities to assist traffic officers perform their duties without endangering lives of the citizens.
He described the alleged violent conduct of police personnel as the highest order of misconduct.
“It is sad to see a police officer stopping private and commercial vehicles and demanding for money, instead of verifying the vehicle ownership documents and other necessary information required,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Police Command in Kwara says its Code of Conduct does not give allowance for violence in the enforcement of any law, traffic laws inclusive.
The spokesperson of the command, SP Okasanmi Ajayi, said that any negative conduct by policemen on duty have consequences and many erring police officers had been punished accordingly.
He stated that police enforcement activities help to deter negative behaviour, such as speeding and driving while intoxicated, he advised Nigerians to report any officer engaged in violent enforcement of traffic laws.
Also reiterating the non-violent attitude expected of officers, the Sector Commander, Kwara FRSC, CC Fredrick Ogidan, described any such violent conduct as unacceptable.
Ogidan said that contrary to public opinion that officers of the FRSC were violent, it was often traffic offenders who attack officers.
“It is the recalcitrant traffic offenders that are daily knocking down our men, maiming and killing them,” he said.
He, however, advised both the personnel of the corps and the motoring public to be civil and positive in their attitude toward road safety.
Similarly, Mr Toyosi Adeoti, a resident of Ilorin, said that it would be unusual to see officials of the FRSC conducting themselves in a violent manner Adeoti said that some personnel of the corps may, however, be forced to act violently in response to an offender’s action.
“I have never seen a violent FRSC officer.
They are usually calm if you cooperate with them, but sometimes, they may be forced to react to a situation accordingly.
“So, I think we should just learn to obey traffic rules and cooperate with them when we meet them in the line of their duty,” he said.
Meanwhile, an Akure-based journalist, Mr Oluwaseun Akingboye, however, described most road traffic officials as men not adequately trained and equipped to perform their duties.
Akingboye called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, overhaul, train and retrain officers of all of the agencies.
Four persons were burnt to death on Friday while 16 others sustained injuries in a lone accident involving a Mazda bus at Oniworo, Foursquare Camp area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Mr Ahmed Umar, FRSC Sector Commander in Ogun confirmed the accident in Abeokuta, saying the accident occurred at 7:50 a.
m. He stated that the bus driver was speeding excessively before losing control and ramming into the median.
The bus summersaulted and went into flames.
“A total of 20 persons were involved, four burnt beyond recognition while one female and 15 men were injured.
Umar stated that the injured victims were taken to a hospital at Ogere in Ogun. He advised motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations to avoid crashes.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Ogun Command has warned motorists against speeding, to further reduce accidents on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Ahmed Umar, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Ota, Ogun. Umar gave the advice while reacting to the two separate accidents which claimed six lives on the route between Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
NAN reports that four persons lost their lives while six others sustained varying degrees of injury in Tuesday’s accident.
On Wednesday, another accident claimed two lives while another person was injured.
The official said that the two mishaps could have been averted if the drivers had observed the speed limits and adhered to the traffic rules and regulations.
“The two crashes on Tuesday and Wednesday were caused by restless driving and speeding on the part of the two drivers.
“We cannot continue to lose innocent people to road accidents caused by the nonchalant attitude of some drivers plying our roads.” Umar also advised motorists not to drive against traffic, saying, “they should reduce their speed so that when an accident occurs, its impact will not be much”.
Two persons died while one other sustained injury in an accident involving a trailer and a volkswagen bus at Oniwowo, Ogunmakin area on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.
Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.
Umar said the accident that occurred at about 4.30 a.m., was caused by excessive speed and loss of control by one of the drivers.
He said that the vehicles involved in the accident were an Iveco trailer marked DUK 517 XA and a volkswagen bus with registration number MUS 05 YF.
The FRSC boss stated that a total of four men were involved in the accident.
Umar added that the injured victim was taken to Victory Hospital, Ogere, while the remains of the deceased were deposited at FOS Morgue, Ipara.
Four persons died while six others sustained varying degrees of injuries in an accident involving a Mazda bus and a truck on the Iperu bridge, Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun confirmed this to newsmen in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
”The accident occurred this morning at about 6:25a.m. involving a Mazda bus with registration numbers YYY 412 XB and an unregistered truck.
” The Mazda bus driver who was on high speed crashed into the moving truck from behind due to light defect on the truck .
The truck’s rear lights made to signal vehicles from behind was not functioning,” he said.
”A male child was among the dead.
The injured victims were taken to the Victory Hospital, Ogere for medical attention while the deceased have been deposited at the FOS Morgue, Ipara.
The sector commander advised motorists to ensure that everything is working in their vehicle before embarking on any trip while also cautioning them on speed violation .
He sympathised with the family of the victims and advised them to contact the FRSC Ogere for more information about the crash.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, says it has commenced the enforcement of the ban on SPY number plates in the state.
The Sector Commander of FRSC, Mr Ahmed Umar, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun, on Tuesday.
The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba, had on Wednesday banned the issuance and use of SPY number plates nationwide.
“The FRSC has commenced the enforcement of the order that banned the use of SPY number plates in the state.
“We are joining hands with the Police Force to enforce the order,” Umar said.
The sector commander lamented that some motorists were using the SPY and other authorised number plates to violate traffic rules and regulations.
Umar reiterated the commitment of the corps to continue to synergise with the Police to sustain the operation.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, on Sunday said that a passerby died in a multiple accident that involved three vehicles at Toll-Gate on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The Sector Commander of FRSC, Mr Ahmed Umar, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun, that five others were unhurt in the accident which occurred at about 10.10 p.m. on Saturday.
Umar explained that the accident involved three vehicles, which incclude Toyota Camry marked AKD 670 HF, a Pick-up TATA and a truck, both without registration number.
The Sector Commander explained further that six persons were involved in the crash, which led to the death of a person(passerby) and five people were unhurt.
“The corpse of the victim was deposited at the morgue of General Hospital, Ifo, “he said.
Umar attributed the unfortunate accident to mechanical deficiency, speeding and brake failure of the truck.
He said the truck rammed into two other vehicles, hitting the passerby and plunged into the river.
The FRSC Officer advised motorists to always get their vehicles in good condition before putting them on the highways.
He also cautioned them against excessive speed that could lead to loss of lives on the highways.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, said on Sunday that seven persons died while 100 others injured in 41 road crashes recorded during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration in the state.
The Sector Commander, Mr Ahmed Umar, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota that personnel of the Corps rescued 195 accident victims unhurt within the period.
Umar said the rescue effort was made possible by FRSC’s special patrol conducted from July 6 to July 13.
The sector commander added that 71 vehicles were involved in the 41 crashes during the Sallah festival.
“Most of the crashes were caused due to violation of traffic rules and regulations.
“Motorists need to always obey traffic rules and regulations to prevent avoidable crashes on the highway,” he said.
Umar said that the corps would continue to sensitise motorists through various public enlightenment programmes on safe driving.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, has organized training for its personnel in road safety management.
Mr. Ahmed Umar, the state sector commander, while speaking at the workshop in Abeokuta on Friday, said that 35 officers from the command had benefited from the training.
Umar said that the essence of the training was to prevent accidents on the road and improve the ability of staff in road safety management.
He explained that the workshop, organized for FRSC local government station officers across the state, would further equip officers with the necessary skills and education.
The sector commander called on the officers benefited to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new ideas about traffic management.
“The essence of the workshop is to further enlighten the staff about their responsibilities as expected in various local governments in the state so that they operate up to expectations in the performance of their duties.
"We want them to go to the base and educate drivers in parks, schools, churches and mosques on how to prevent traffic accidents," he said.
The FRSC chief urged officers to absorb new ideas and knowledge to ensure the effective delivery of a service to the motoring public.
Umar urged the officers to continue to ensure discipline on the roads and also to end the threat of dangerous driving and overloading.
Four persons died while five others sustained injuries in an accident involving a Toyota Sienna space bus and a truck at old toll gate, Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta on Monday.
Umar explained that the accident occured at about 3:22 p.m. and was caused by speeding and loss of control by the driver of the Toyota Sienna.
The sector commander stated that the Sienna marked KJA 738 ET, lost control and collided with the truck which was making a reverse on the expressway.
” A total of nine people were involved which comprised six men, two women and one child. Five people were injured and four persons died,” he said.
Umar added that the injured victims were taken to Victory Hospital, Ogere for treatment while the deceased were deposited at FOS Morgue, Ipara.
He advised motorists to use common sense speed limit especially during the rainy season when visibility was always poor.