By Segun Awofadeji
As part of activities marking its 32 years of existence, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has offered medical outreach to motorists in Bauchi State just as it declared that the high rate of road accidents across the state is due to the failure of motorists to obey road traffic regulations.
The Zonal Commanding Officer of the FRSC, Zone 12, comprising Borno, Yobe and Bauchi States, Assistant Corps Marshall Imoh Etuk, disclosed this while speaking in an interview Thursday during a sensitization rally and free medical outreach to motorists in Bauchi to mark the commission’s 32 years anniversary.
The FRSC boss, who warned motorists to obey road traffic regulations, said that it will not spare any of its officers found to be extorting money from members of the public while carrying out their duties.
According to him, the free medical outreach to motorists was part of its corporate social responsibility of giving back to the public while celebrating 32 years of its establishment.
He said: “FRSC is 32 today and we are grateful to God that he helped us these years to carry out the statutory objectives of the establishment act 2007 which says we should reduce crashes to the barest minimum, clear obstructions, do public enlightenment.
“It could have been a lot worse if not that the government intervened about 32 years back. We are telling the drivers that they don’t need to drive at night. They should do proper journey management so that they don’t have to drive at night.
“The crashes that occur, quite frankly, occur at night. Yes, we are supposed to do rescue operations 24/7, but you know rescue at night is not the same thing with that of the day.
“Members of the public should obey road traffic regulations, not to overload their vehicles, ensure that their vehicles are in good shape and they shouldn’t drive under the influence of drugs. A lot of drugs, Tramadol and many others are being sold in parks. Thank God we have been sensitizing them not to sell but these drivers always find a way of taking these drugs before driving and the influence of drugs is not palatable.”
On extortion of motorists by men of the corps, the zonal commander said that the FRSC will not leave anything unturned but will ensure that all bad eggs are rid out of the service.
“We have always said that both the giver and the taker are guilty and many of them face guard room trials, many of them are being investigated. It is not as if we don’t have bad eggs but we urge members of the public to report those bad eggs, those people that are spoiling the corporate image of the corps because it is the corporate image of the corps that is at stake. The bad eggs are always fished out and they are punished.
“I have sensitized them that anyone caught will not escape the wrath of the law. We do monitoring and surveillance, we do sensitization lectures in-house, we talk to them, and this is not to say that there won’t be a few pockets of indiscipline here and there, but we are urging members of the public to report such to us and we will deal with them accordingly,” he warned.
Etuk said that apart from the public enlightenment and rally to mark the anniversary, the FRSC is also giving back to the society urging the people to check their blood pressure, their eyesight, their weight, so that they don’t just go on the road without knowing exactly what is wrong with them.
According to him, “The medical outreach is necessary because drivers must have a healthy mind and healthy body and they must ensure that all their faculties are working because if your faculties are not okay, your eyesight is not proper, if you are diabetic or you have high blood pressure and something suddenly happens, you won’t be able to control.
“But once you know, you will be able to control it. It’s a whole package that we give them not only to overload their vehicles, not to drink and drive or drive and drink but to also check their eyesight.”
He said that FRSC at 32 is a wake up call to them to do more to ensure that road crashes are reduced to the barest minimum, “when you see overloading, when you hear of crashes at night or anywhere, it makes you want to do more”.
He called on traditional rulers, spiritual leaders and stakeholders to team up with the FRSC to reduce road crashes in the state.
Also speaking, the state Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Bauchi State chapter, Abdullahi Mohammed, who felicitated with the FRSC at 32 said RTEAN’s relationship with the corps has been very cordial.
He called on the federal government and other major stakeholders to help the FRSC with more operational vehicles to enable them respond to emergency situations.
“If you notice now, if there’s an accident along Bauchi-Jos road for instance, once the FRSC vehicle conveys the victims to the hospital and another crash occurs somewhere afterwards, they wouldn’t be able to go because they don’t have enough vehicles. The federal government should provide them with more vehicles to ease their work,” he pleaded.