Just when Nigerians are still struggling to come to terms with the constant unexplained ‘accidental discharge’ by Policemen which has killed so many innocent people, the Federal Government has gone ahead to approve that men and officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps carry firearms.
And the sole reason for this according to the Federal government is due to the sad revelation that the Corps has lost over 70 of its personnel in 2016 alone as a result of violent attacks by motorists at the course of duties on highways.
Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, made this known on Friday in Abuja at the end of year management strategy session as a way to assess the Corps stewardship as well as ensuring effective service delivery.
He noted that the FRSC Establishment Act gives power to the corps to bear arms and that the Federal Government had earlier approved that, with about 5,000 personnel already undergoing training on firearms.
The Federal Government has however approved the recruitment of about 450 personnel to beef up the operational capacity of FRSC in prompt rescue operations and enforcement drive.
Oyeyemi said: “The Act gives power to the Corps to bear arms and 5,000 of our personnel have been trained. We are just waiting for the validation of the earlier approval.
“Sadly, within the one year, we have lost 70 personnel. It is sad to note that some killing and maiming of operatives, including one from a sister agency in close collaboration with the Corps were in the course of official duties.
“A recent occurrence was the happening in Talata Mafara, Zamfara State where a motorist ran into the Mobile Court in session, killing three operatives almost instantly while a Civil Defence operative died later as a result of injuries sustained in the dastardly act.
He, however, declared that the Corps would not give up, ensuring that the mandate of making Nigerian highways safer is achieved.
The Corps Marshal said he had since last year raised the alarm that some Nigerian motorists were becoming unusually violent, following rising cases of wilful killings of some of the Corps’ operatives on official duties.
He also revealed that at the end of week 47 of 2016, road crashes claimed the lives of 4,005 persons in Nigeria from 7,657 crashes as recorded by the Corps.
He, however, pointed out that the Corps has recorded 15 per cent reduction in road traffic crashes and 25 per cent in fatality rate, during the third quarter of 2016, saying this was an indication that the Corps is making progress in the campaigns.
He said: “For instance, as at September this year, we have achieved 77.19 per cent of the expectation in RTC reduction while 83.33 per cent was archived in respect of fatality rate. We will not only keep momentum but further accelerate achievement of goals,” he said.
He also disclosed that the Corps has sacked 66 personnel (10 officers and 56 marshals) on issues bothering on indiscipline, particularly inducement of operatives by motorists to evade arrest and outright extortion by operatives.
Oyeyemi added that 33 other personnel were had their ranks reduced or lost of seniority as part of disciplinary action on them.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal, reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government in supporting FRSC in achieving its mandate of making Nigerian roads safe for the citizens.
He said the government has accordingly approved the recruitment of 4350 personnel to boost the operational capacity of the Corps.
Lawal who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Ambassador Olukunle Gbangbose, said the Federal Government would ensure that FRSC is properly equipped for effective service delivery while calling on the top management of the Corps to begin to think out of the box in addressing challenges faced.