Dialogue on Curbing Road Mishaps

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Ayodeji Ake writes that the recent retreat of the Zone RS2 Headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps, comprising Lagos and Ogun State Divisions, was tailored towards achieving its primary obligation of effectively tackling road mishaps 

To achieve its primary obligations as a road safety agency was the focus of the recent  quarterly retreat of the Zone RS2 headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), comprising Lagos and Ogun State Division. At the retreat, the commanding officers held series of dialogue on service improvement to reduce to the minimal, if not eradicate, the incidence of mishaps on public roads.

As a government agency charged with the statutory responsibility of road safety administration in Nigeria, the road safety flag is in over 30 states in Nigeria, as well as the federal capital territory (FCT). Therefore, as the lead agency in Nigeria on road safety administration and management, they are charged with responsibilities of; making the highways safe for motorists and other road users as well as checking road worthiness of vehicles, recommending works and infrastructure to eliminate or minimise accidents on the highways and educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of road discipline on the highways.

Assessing Quarterly Performance 

Thus, at the second quarter retreat themed ‘Towards a Better Road Safety Administration and Management in Nigeria’, held recently in Lagos, the Assistant Corps Marshal Zonal Commanding Officer, RS2 Lagos, Samuel Obayemi said the retreat was designed to assess the quarterly performance of FRSC and dialogue on how to improve on quality service delivery.

According to him,  “RS2 is made up of Lagos and Ogun States. What we are doing is a retreat for all commanding officer within the zone. In RS2 we have 21 units. We need to come together once in a while like this, once in a quarter; to appraise what we have been able to do in the past quarter to see our areas of strength and weaknesses and see what we can do to further improve our service delivery to members of the public. It is something we do on quarterly basis.

“At the end of the retreat, our projections are; we all be on the same page and plan ahead to see exactly what every commanding officer needs to do so that at the end of the day we will collectively raise the bar. As at today, Lagos command is rated the best in the federation and we need to maintain that position, by seeing what we are doing correctly and wherever our weaknesses are, we proffer solutions which they will take home back to their commands to implement.

“The law establishing federal road safety corps gave us the power to patrol on all public roads. But we have discovered that with the help of other stakeholders it makes our job easier. FRSC always encourage state governments to setup their own traffic agencies. The essence is that the state agencies focus on the state roads while we focus more on federal ways. As at today,  we have almost 30 states that have their own traffic agencies and FRSC is seconding more states to create their own traffic agencies. What we are after is the safety of Nigerians. So if we get other agencies to compliment what we do, then death will flee off our roads.”

Safety in Rainy Season

While giving clues on safety usage of the public road during the rainy season, Obayemi said projections from the concluded quarterly meeting will enhance FRSC as commanding officers will be empowered to achieve quality services goals in their various units.

“What was experienced in this quarter is an improvement of what we had in the first quarter. It’s expected that at the third quarter, there will be more of quality service delivery. We want to further reduce crisis on our roads because that is what is paramount to collaborate with necessary stakeholders for improvement.

“What I wants to say is that this is raining season and we expect all road users to particularly have consideration for other road users. And for vehicle owners, we expect them to ply the roads with very good tyres, get their wipers in very good conditions. They should also know the roads are wet and they should always be mindful of their speed on the highways” he said.

Strategic Dialogue

The Group Managing Consultant, Academy Press Plc, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu, who was also a participant at the meeting commended FRSC for the quarterly meeting initiative, adding that  it was a welcome strategy of development.

“This is a laudable one. It’s a workshop that helped to discuss matters affecting growth and development of the corps. The environment in Nigeria still needs to be given more awareness and if the FRSC is not taking up activities within to develop its own members in such that there will be proper approach to communication and execution of their functions, it will not help growth and development. As the case is, the workshop is extremely strategic.

“I’m very positive about the retreat because it’s educative and allowed room for dialoguing matters affecting progress. And once you are able to address this, there will be solutions on how to address and curb road menace. With this, there will be proper understanding of stakeholder’s role play, as well as behaviours constitute a larger percentage of mishaps on the road which the retreat addressed,” he said.

Fashanu suggested that a road safety club should be initiated in schools and various communities to educate the young Nigerians on the activities of FRSC to catch them young and prepare them ahead on how to prevent road mishaps.

“My advice is that road users should be orderly and conform within the rules and regulations of the road usage. Familiar roads may develop slides and infractions due to rain, so if we fail to conform to orders of road usage, it causes accident. With this retreat, it will allow good communication to help people be conscious on road usage.

“We also want the government to be more concerned to make the FRSC’s job easier. FRSC is also charged with responsibilities of educating the public about their activities. There must a concept of road safety friendly club which will not only help the road users alone, but the children because when we catch them young, improvement and development becomes easier which becomes a culture” he added.

Partnership

As partner, the Learning Manager, Old Mutual Nigeria, a premium financial services company, Olu Okunnu, said the company is in partnership with FRSC and other agencies not only on financial needs but to see how they can support agencies to ensure Nigerians maintain health safety while driving and boarding.

“Old Mutual Nigeria was established over five years ago in Nigeria. We are part of a strong and expanding global group with head office in South Africa. The group is spread over 14 countries and was founded in South Africa back in 1845. We are happy to partner the FRSC because we see an opportunity to support our law enforcement officers. We already partner  the Civil Defense Corps and government agencies. We realised that most of your officers have dependents and financial needs and this is an opportunity to share information with them about how to protect their loved ones and the things they care about” he said.

The Head Bancassurance, Old Mutual Nigeria, Dumebi Okonkwo also commended FRSC on strategic dialogue on road safety.

“We are delighted to be partners with FRSC and also in the retreat which focuses on driving and safe arrivals. At Old Mutual, we are committed  that everybody becomes the exceptional best. Part of achieving this goal is staying alive and living healthy at home and even on the road and that’s basically where FRSC comes in. So for us, partnering the FRSC through the Nigerian Heart Foundation, we discuss the essence of what Old Mutual is and has done in its 175 years of its existence. Out of the 175, five years has been spent in Nigeria, which is a trusted life partner.

“What we are doing is to ensure that we reach out to many regions through this partnership that everything we have dialogued in terms of being financially smart and most importantly health of Nigerians are well taken care of is projected through the partnership. We are with FRSC in terms of empowering the road users, educating them on how well to use the road. And on our part, it is an avenue to leverage on reaching out to Nigerians,” she said.