President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday urged the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to take more stringent action against motorists who drive against traffic.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau , said this while inaugurating 283 operational vehicles for the FRSC in Abuja.
He said that in spite of the numerous successes recorded by the Corps, there were other areas that required urgent attention.
The president said the lingering issue of violation of one-way traffic by road users within cities and inter-state roads had continued to cause fatal accidents.
“There is the recurring problem of overloading of humans, animals and other cargo beyond the approved capacity of the vehicles especially by commercial road users ostensibly to maximise profit.
“But this is with attendant consequence on the longevity of our roads and safety of the passengers; one additional road hazard of immense safety implication is the poor handling of cargo containers during haulage,“ he said.
He called on the leadership of the corps to take note of these observations with a view to tackling them headlong.
“It is to further boost the operational success of the corps in line with the administration’s desire to ensure safety and security of citizens that the procurement of 283 operational vehicles is being commissioned today,“he said.
Buhari said the vehicles would no doubt boost the operational capacity of the corps and enhance its capacity to face the challenges of enforcing traffic rules and regulations on the nation’s high ways.
He expressed optimism that the fleet of vehicles would give impetus to the ongoing global campaign for road safety under the auspices of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
The president said his administration was committed to the ideals of road safety and would continue to demonstrate its support for the FRSC in its commitment to ensure safety on the nation’s roads.
He said that was the reason his administration expediently approved the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy Document as recently endorsed by the National Economic Council.
Buhari said the document contained the role to be played by all tiers of government, including the private and public sectors in funding road safety activities.
He appealed to motorists to always check their tyres, wear seatbelt and avoid distractions in the use of mobile phones while driving.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, who was represented by Mr Roy Ugo, Permanent Secretary in his office, said the gesture would no doubt motivate the staff for higher productivity.
“With this there will be no more hiding place for violators of traffic rules and regulations,“he said.
He said that this administration’s decision to release the corps’ capital budgetary allocation had enabled it to produce the necessary equipment for its operations on the highway.
“Government believes that as the custodian of road safety in the country, adequate provision of human and material resources could empower the organisation to perform its role of keeping the roads safe,“he said.
The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, said that the vehicles would be strategically distributed along major corridors of the nation’s highways for effective utilisation .
“First of all, the commands must be fully fortified, then distribute the vehicles to all the critical corridors that are noted with high level of road traffic crashes like Abuja,Kaduna ,Kano, Lokoja,Okene ,Lagos and Ibadan .
“Then there is a new twist to include Sokoto ,Talata, Mafara, Gusua that we need to do something urgently about ,then we have Benin, Asaba ,Ore shagamu,“he said.
Oyeyemi said that the corps would take more stringent action to prosecute and press for maximum punishment for traffic violators especially the one-way drivers as directed by the President.
He said that the corps had over 200 mobile courts across the country for the prosecution of traffic offenders.
Oyeyemi said the occasion symbolised the sustained intent of the Federal Government to raise the bar on road safety management in the country.
Among the 283 vehicles, 31 are advanced life support ambulances, 30 administrative vehicles, while the rest are patrol cars.