ARE BULLION VAN DRIVERS LICENSED TO KILL?

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The Federal Road Safety Corps must enforce its laws

Last week, a bullion van, driven recklessly and in a very irresponsible manner, claimed the lives of two Nigerians and injured three others for no reason except that the man on wheel was apparently in a hurry. The driver of the vehicle said to be on top speed lost control of the Toyota Hilux pick-up van and rammed into a motorcycle conveying a candidate preparing for his Joint Admissions and Matriculation examinations in Lafia, Nasarawa State. Three prospective Unified Tertiary Matriculation candidates processing their papers at a commercial bank branch were also seriously injured.

We have stated repeatedly in this space, even as we do so again, that the authorities must do something about the wanton loss of innocent lives caused by these mad drivers. For years, many Nigerians have been at the mercy of these killer-drivers whose daredevilry on the road have claimed the lives of numerous innocent citizens. Drivers in the convoy of top government officials, escorts, bank officials and the well-heeled in society break traffic rules and regulation at will–a phenomenon that has yet to be corrected over the years.

However, the bullion van drivers are a special case when it comes to reckless driving. But is it supposed to be so? Why can’t these drivers show more concern to the safety of other road users and indeed theirs’ by diligently obeying traffic rules and regulations? Why is it convenient for FRSC officers to breath down the neck of ordinary citizens while avoiding speeding bullion van drivers or government convoys? Are they above the law? Is the requirement to deliver money at some banks a license to murder people on the road?

What’s more, the so-called bullion van drivers, like their cousins in convoys, not only kill, maim and abuse the rights of other road users by forcing them off the roads, many of those who had the effrontery to challenge them had been bloodied or subjected to humiliating treatment. As His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto rightly observed not long ago, many traffic accidents were caused by the overzealousness of these drivers. “The FRSC should do more to curb the recklessness of government convoy on the roads. They should not stop ordinary Nigerians who are struggling to survive. I am yet to see FRSC officers stopping a government convoy,” he said.

The Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, had indeed admitted that “road traffic crashes don’t just happen; they are caused either by omission or commission of the drivers, and therefore, could be averted if drivers are committed to carefully observing the causative factors.” So why can’t the FRSC enforce traffic rules and regulations among these irresponsible lot so as to avoid actions that could compromise safety on the roads?

What is lost on these bullion van drivers is the implications of harassing the very tax payers whose money was used to purchase the vehicles and to pay their salaries. The way and manner they go about terrorising other road users had always left the public wondering whether these drivers were under instruction from their superiors to break the rules of civilised conduct. When will many of the convoy drivers begin to demonstrate some civility and respect for traffic rules so we can put an end to executive recklessness on our roads?

The FRSC has a sacred duty to ensure that the safety and the welfare of the citizenry are uppermost by enforcing traffic rules and regulations, no matter whose ox is gored. That bullion drivers carry money does not give them any excuse to drive recklessly. The FRSC authorities must begin to challenge this deadly impunity.