By SANI ABDULLAHI
Easter celebration is one of the challenging periods of operations for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), as it creates opportunity for Nigerians to travel en mass from where they stay to their traditional homes to observe the feast. The mass movement of people and vehicles with accompanying hazards, therefore, makes it imperative that FRSC puts necessary measures in place to avert obstructions, crashes and other road hazards through adequate deployment of its personnel and logistics as well as monitors from the National Headquarters to supervise the field operations.
The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, a dogged operational planner introduced a new dimension to the monitoring exercise during this year’s Easter operations when he took his monitoring to the North-Western parts of the country instead of the South as had been the case in the past. As soon as he commenced the monitoring from Abuja on Saturday, 26th March 2016 through the ever busy Abuja-Kaduna- Kano road, drivers with penchant for speed violation realized that the act would not be condoned. In the same way, articulated vehicle drivers who always take over the speed lane as if they were the only ones on the road had to be consistently pulled over to the slow lane by the team before passing them.
That was the operational strategy adopted throughput the period of about five hours journey from Abuja to Kano. On his arrival in the city, the first point of call of the Corps Marshal was the Kano state sector command of the FRSC, where he urged the staff to remain vigilant to ensure hitch-free Easter celebration. From the office, he proceeded to the Government House Kano, where he was received by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who commended him for his commitment to issues of road safety and assured him of the readiness of the state government to collaborate with the FRSC to create safe road environments in the country.
In his remarks, Oyeyemi informed the Governor that he was in the state to monitor the Easter special patrol and particularly commiserate with the government and people of the state on the fire incident which occurred in one of the markets in the state. Throughout the period of his stay in the state, the FRSC Boss continued to receive update reports on traffic situations within the Zone and across the country. But on his return trip from Kano, he decided to use the road monitoring exercise as an opportunity to visit some of the FRSC Commands located along the highways to see things himself. And he indeed, saw so many things that required his attention which he attended to promptly to the admiration of the Officers and Marshals of the affected Commands.
For instance, at the Chiromawa unit command located after Kano city, the Corps Marshal approved the connection of the office to the National Grid to address the challenge of electricity supply, while also directing the head of Logistics to immediately effect repairs on the Command’s Motorbike. When informed that work has been suspended on the Ambulance point being constructed by the World Bank, he directed the Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to get to the root of the problem for immediate resumption of work, as he directed the Corps Medical Officer (CMRO) to take necessary steps to post more paramedics staff to the Command.
In addition, he gave directives that the height of the perimeter fencing of the Command be increased for security reasons and for more personnel to be deployed there to enable it tackle the challenges of overloading which is rampart in the area.
All other Commands he visited including Tasha-Yaro, Kakau, Doka and Kateri received one form of attention or the other. For instance, at Tasha Yaro Unit Command, its Ambulance had its four tyres replaced, while the World Bank heavy duty tow truck under Kakau Unit Command in Kaduna state got approval for replacement of its 12 tyres, batteries and towing ropes. The same gesture was extended to Doka Ambukance point where the four tyres of its Ambulance’s were replaced, with the promise of a generator to take care of its electricity needs in the night.
There was no doubt that the Corps Marshal’s monitoring exercise was an eye opener to most drivers that came across the team with many of them confessing that they didn’t realize onetime that it was the Corps marshal himself that was leading, as they had to contend with driving within the stipulated speed limits contrary to their usual penchant for speed violation. That was why at the press briefing he addressed on Thursday, 31st March 2016 to give updates on the Easter special patrol, Oyeyemi did not mince words when he told the reporters that the six days special patrol was a huge success, and recalled that all the critical indices when compared with same period last year showed significant improvements.
“In terms of arrests made between last year and this year, while 7, 794 traffic offenders were apprehended in 2015, the number reduced to 6, 223 this year, which is 20 percent decrease,” he stated.
“Furthermore, while 115 crashes were recorded in 2015, this reduced to 98 this year, making 15 percent decrease. In terms of number of people involved in the crashes, while 885 people were involved in 2015, this reduced to 600 this year, making 32 percent reduction,” Oyeyemi further stated.
The Corps Marshal further disclosed in the address that while 85 people were killed in 2015, the number reduced to 77 this year, making 9 percent reduction, adding that against 463 people injured in 2015, the number reduced to 358 this year, which is 23 percent decrease. “The comparative analysis of the number of people rescued alive last year and this year showed that while 338 were rescued alive in 2015, this reduced to 165 this year making 51 percent decrease,” he stated.
Oyeyemi further disclosed that in line with the decision of the Management, Mobile Courts were held across the country to summarily try traffic violators, of which a total of five hundred and fifty nine (559) were arraigned, with five hundred and eighteen (518) of them getting convictions. He added that forty one (41) were discharged, with none being convicted to prison terms. The Corps Marshal thumbed up for the success of the campaign on use of seatbelt, especially by drivers and front seat passengers, he however conceded that more advocacy would be done to convince backseat passengers on the necessity to wear seatbelt while riding in a vehicle.
On the whole, the consensus was that this year’s Easter special patrol by the FRSC and the impromptu visits paid by the Corps Marshal to some Commands provided him another opportunity to appreciate the capability and logistics challenges of the Commands. It further created public awareness, saved lives and secured the roads for the teaming road travelers. That was why the Corps Marshal reassured the nation in his address that, “FRSC will continue to deploy appropriate measures that could lead to the attainment of safer road environments in the remaining parts of the year.”
Superintendent Route Commander Abdullahi wrote from Abuja