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Opinion: 33 Years Of Road Safety Administration, Traffic Management In Nigeria: Journey So Far

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By Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM( Bisi Kazeem fsi

The ugly narrative of Road Traffic crashes in the early 70s changed through Federal Government’s resilience in the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in 1988, as the Lead Agency in road safety administration and traffic management in Nigeria via decree no 45 of 1988 as amended by decree no 35 of 1992, later codified as FRSC Act (CAP 141) Laws of the Federation 1990 and FRSC Act CAP F19, LFN, 2004; FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007.

Being a strategic intervention to address the ugly trend of road crashes, the FRSC has, since its establishment operated in line with best global practices. The organisation was specifically established and empowered by legislation to coordinate road safety administration and traffic management in Nigeria with an ultimate aim of halting the trend of road traffic crashes and fatalities on all roads (204,000km) in the country, and its Laws and Regulations can be exercised in any part of the country.

The major goal of the founding fathers was for the Corps to become a world class organisation that will fulfill its primary purpose of existence, and align herself towards realizing all United Nations resolutions on reduction of deaths and injuries on the roads and make Nigerian roads one of the safest in the world.

To achieve this cardinal mandate of saving lives without compromise, the FRSC religiously chose the path of honour in efficient service conveyance, by delivering high quality services in line with a Quality Management Policy that is not at variance with other laws of the land in respect to road safety administration and management in the country. Unlike other agencies of government, the establishment of FRSC was in conformity with the lead agency concept recommended by the United Nations and World Health Organization, that member nations should dedicate an agency of government to lead in coordinating Road safety management as a best practice to combat the scourge of death and injuries from RTC.

Prior to the establishment of the FRSC in 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) had adjudged Nigeria, the second only behind Ethiopia, as the most dangerous country in the world to drive a motor vehicle.

In its thirty three years as lead agency in traffic and safety management, FRSC has recorded tremendous achievements in the area of Traffic Engineering, Road Safety Administration, Traffic Management, rescue operation, and Crash reduction. It has achieved this glorious feat, as a result of a chain of leadership ingenuity that led to the fusion of the services of volunteers called Special Marshals and social responsibility groups in its programmes to enhance road safety management in Nigeria.

To this end, road safety administration in Nigeria has witnessed a paradigm shift from Traditional approach to Safe Systems Approach through the use of state of the art Information Technology facilities; the Corps has been able to enhance its operational capacity aimed at promoting public safety and security. The Corps under different governmental and administrative leaderships has proven to allay the menace of road traffic crashes in the past 33 years.

Considering that road transport sector in Nigeria accounts for over 90% of passengers and freight movement, this exerts undue pressure on the FRSC in discharging its cardinal responsibilities. In view of the foregoing, the Corps has over the years embarked on several reforms which include but not limited to the following: Development of a national road safety strategy road map, established a National Road Safety Advisory Council (NaRSAC) which is directly under the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo improved operational efficiency, enhanced regulatory environment, and accelerated response capability to situations that needed immediate actions.

The Corps therefore defined its cause in tandem with UN Decade of Action as well as the mantra of functional 21st century organisation by chatting a path to meet the Accra Declaration of 50% reduction in fatality by 2015, achieve the UN decade of action on road Safety of 50% fatality reduction by 2021 and the rollover of UN Decade of Action in 2031.

The Corps has now come of age after going through good times and tides. In its thirty Three years journey, it recorded for instance, a commendable 62.4% reduction in crash from 40,881 in 1976 to 25,792 within its first operational year alone. In this regard, it is instructive to state that the Corps has doggedly fought RTC from the unacceptable 40,881 of 1976 down to 10522 in 2020. The statistics above shows that the Corps is gaining grounds accordingly.

As a performance driven organisation with clearly set measurable Key performance Indicators, FRSC is today, the only law enforcement organization in Nigeria certified by the International Standard organization. The Corps has over three decades designed and operated 28 web applications for its operational activities so as to create an accessible platform for the general public.

The introduction of the toll free 122 emergency number and a 24 hours call center established to reduce response time for crash victims; a single step that has reduced emergency response time from 50 minutes to 15 minutes thereby decreasing the number of fatalities in crash situations. More so, the introduction of Verification Portal for drivers licence and number plates, the introduction of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme (RTSSS) for uniformity and harmonization of fleet operators in the country, the Driving School Standardisation Scheme (DSSP), the introduction of the speed limiting device whose enforcement began on 1st February, 2017, and the vehicle tracking system among others, are policies formulated and implemented to fight road traffic crash to extinction.

Further to the aforementioned, as one of the nation’s custodian of critical data infrastructure, the Corps has successfully strengthened inter-agency cooperation with relevant stakeholders such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and Banks in Nigeria with evident success in inter agency collaboration and harmonization of data for national development.

Again, it is noteworthy to look at the direction of the present leadership of Dr Boboye Oyememi’s swift response to the incessant abuse of traffic rules which led to the putting together of the OPERATION COBRA to address certain life-threatening traffic-related offences. This singular step has become instrumental to the decline in crash rate as offenders apprehended by the Operation Cobra squad are usually referred to a government health facility for Emotional Stability Test. Oyeyemi’s Management has so far constructed and inaugurated 16 permanent structures in various Sector commands, with other two awaiting inauguration.

To achieve the stated targets, the Corps has developed transformational initiatives focused on People, Processes and Technology (PPT) that is why today not only does its staff pride as the most disciplined but the Corps stands as the best Information Technology (IT) driven organization in Nigeria with its robust data base and over 95 percentage digitalized administrative and operational procedures.

It is therefore expedient to state that the era covering the period of reign of the present Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, and establishment of State Traffic Agencies was encouraged to further complement the function of the FRSC within the states. The Corps also embarks in consultation with stakeholders who have become more involved through the mechanism of the special marshals, celebrity Special Marshals and road Safety clubs. The deployment of FRSC personnel to Tank Farms has to a large degree, dwindled the rate of crashes associated with articulated vehicles, particularly tankers carrying petroleum products. Through its Safe-to- Load initiative, articulated vehicle have been subjected to checks before they are allowed to load from the various depots across the country with trained personnel of the Corps undertaken routine checks to ensure strict compliance.

In pursuit of aggressive public enlightenment programme, the FRSC Management under him established the National Traffic Radio 107.1 FM in October, 2019 as a medium for educating mass members of the public on traffic matters and updating them of road conditions across the country. The Corps further introduced a massive welfare scheme through the Post Service Scheme and the 20,000 Housing project for Staff.

With its present 12 Zonal Commands, 37 Sector Commands, 213 Unit Commands, 41 Out Posts, FRSC Academy, FRSC Training Schools, FRSC Staff College, 214 Driver License Centres/Work Stations, 1 Signage Plant, 1 National Driver License Print Farm, 43 Emergency Ambulance Points (ZEBRAs), and 17 Staff Clinics; it’s quite in order to posit that the Corps has witnessed tremendous expansion in these 33 years rising from its hitherto few command structures to having representation in the 774 Local Governments of the Federation.

On the global scene, FRSC takes leadership role of West African road Safety Organisation (WARSO) as part of measures to scale up the bar on road safety management within the West African region. . Further to this, the Corps has provided technical assistance to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia and so on. It has secured implementation of a policy robust engagement with international organizations for capacity building including world bank project on Safe corridor Project etc. Apart from succeeded in securing the endorsement of National Road Safety Strategy in 2016, FRSC made Nigeria the first African country to be admitted into International Traffic Safety Data analysis group IRTAD, became the first African country to accede to six (6) United Nations Conventions on Road Safety. This is to align with global best practice and domesticate the standards.

These efforts have given the organization awards both national and international especially during a workshop under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the FRSC was adjudged the best lead agency on road safety management in Africa.

In the same vein, the Corps’ success story has been attributed to its establishment under the Presidency with clear mandate and budget, also identified the introduction of a world class drivers’ licensing standard by the FRSC which is difficult to forge, building and maintenance of a dedicated work force including regular marshals and a volunteer arm and optimal deployment of technology, a feat which has been described as unparalleled in Africa, South of the Sahara.

Experts in the transportation industry also identified data utilization and transparency as one of the Corps’ quick win strategies which has ensured effective management of traffic-related matters through a weekly reportage of traffic trends, utilisation of data for performance monitoring and targeted interventions, effective monitoring, evaluation and planning, in addition to transparent evaluation of trends and sustained drive for improved performance.

In recognising the leadership role FRSC has played in shaping Nigeria’s Road Safety in thirty three (33) years, it is important to acknowledge that the level of awareness and citizen’s view of road safety as a collective responsibility together with political will of the government is the reason for the achievements so far recorded.
Bisi Kazeem is the Corps Public Education Officer, FRSC

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Akpabio Lied, No State Received N30bn from FIRS – Makinde

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Oyo State Governor and Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, declared that there was no truth in the claim by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, that states of the federation got an additional N30 billion each outside of their statutory revenue allocations, to address food insecurity in their states.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Suleiman Olarenwaju in Ibadan, the state capital, said the state has not received any N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service or the Federal Government, and that his administration has been and will always be open and transparent to the people of the state.

The Governor, who added that he has been doing everything to cushion the effects of the economic hardship on the people, warned that leaders should instill confidence and hope in the citizenry in this trying time rather than playing the blame game.

Makinde stated this in Iseyin where he commissioned the newly-renovated multi-billion naira Iseyin Central Mosque facilitated by a legal icon, Ahmed Raji, SAN, hailing the religious harmony in the state as being exemplary.

The Governor decried Akpabio’s reliance on unverified reports, clarifying that states couldn’t get funds from the FIRS, since all revenues go into the Federation Account and belong to the FG, states and local governments.

“The only fund that Oyo State got from the Federal Government outside of statutory allocation was N2 billion out of the N5 billion promised to all states in the wake of the removal of fuel subsidy, adding that the Federal Government had even been asking for the refund of the N2 billion,” he stated.

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been the first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery.

He said, “This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAFER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit. We have health insurance for our own people, we give farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God.

“For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months. Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage. Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time.”

Makinde cautioned that “this is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security.”

The Governor added, “Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening.

“If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government.  The FG does not give states money. The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government.

“So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.”

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the number three citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it? Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land?” he queried.

“Let me say it clearly, as for Oyo State and for most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now.

“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now.

“We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them.”

Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, appreciated Makinde for attending the event and for speaking passionately as expected of leaders, saying the state governor is on the right track.

Earlier, the facilitator of the Iseyin Central Mosque renovation project, Raji, appreciated the governor for his presence, urging citizens of the country to continue to pray for its leaders and to pray to God to lessen the burden of the people.

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Enough is Enough, PDP Governors Tell Tinubu

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By Eric Elezuo

The government of President Bola Tinubu has continued to come under serious knocks across Nigeria’s geo-political zones, sectors, individuals and political parties. The latest of the knocks is coming from the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is serving a red card the administration, saying enough is enough.

The knocks and barefaced condemnation are not unconnected with the economic hardship in the country, which is a direct consequence of very unpopular economic decisions the administration has taken so far, ranging from the removal of petroleum subsidy and floating of the naira to removal of tariffs on electricity and other essential services.

As at date, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is floating between N617 and N650 depending on the part of the country. In the same vein, the dollar is worth a whopping N1600 as at date. The ripple effect has resulted in the exorbitant rise in the prices of essential food items such as rice, garri, beans, flour, sugar, tomato and other household items, and families are groaning in excruciating agony.

As a result, angry and hungry Nigerians have denounced the emilokun (meaning it’s my turn) slogan, and chose ebi mpawa (meaning we are hungry) in exchange.

Consequently, rising from a one day retreat on the state of the nation, the PDP Governors Forum, also found faults and looming loopholes in the nine months old administration of Tinubu, thereby asking the president to step aside as the challenges confronting the nation seems to have overwhelmed him and his team. The Forum advised the APC-administration headed by Tinubu to as a matter to ‘Throw in the towel if you can’t govern Nigeria anymore’.

The governors, who were elected on the platform of the PDP, noted that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, has failed woefully, and should graciously throw in the towel if it cannot mobilise Nigerians as well as all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions to the various problems plaguing the nation.

The governors specifically noted that the hardship and suffering being faced by Nigerians have no tribal, religious or party colouration, stressing that “a hungry man is an angry man”.

They further reminded the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of the need to be guided by the fact that it is (APC) that sought power to solve the problems of Nigeria, not to compound them or shift blame and use propaganda to confuse issues.

The PDP Governors Forum’s advice is contained in a statement signed by its Director-General, Hon CID Maduabum in Abuja.

The PDP Governors expressly pointed out that the buck ultimately stops at the President’s table as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Chief Salesman and leader of Nigeria.

The PDP-GF, nonetheless, assured that as stakeholders in governance, it would continue to work collaboratively with the President in finding lasting solutions to “a very difficult situation created or exacerbated by the APC since 2015”.

The PDP Governors frowned at the Minister of Information, APC Governors’ Forum and other officials of the APC-led Federal Government who criticised the the PDP-GF for their suggestions, advice and patriotic intervention on the way forward for the country in a communique issued at the end of their recent meeting in Abuja.

The Forum categorically declared, “It must be noted that though Nigeria is a Federation, there is indeed only one economy.

Accordingly, the governors said while all tiers of government have a role to play, the APC led Federal Government has a disproportionate role to mobilise Nigerians and all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions, adding that “If it cannot do so or is unable to do so, it should graciously throw in the towel.”

The statement reads in details:

“Hardship and suffering being faced by Nigerians have no tribal, religious or party colouration. A hungry man is an angry man.

“While all tiers of government have a role to play, the APC led Federal Government has a disproportionate role to play in mobilising Nigerians and all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions.

“If it can not do so or is unable to do so, it should graciously throw in the towel.

“Attempts by the Honourable Minister of Information, APC Governors’ Forum and other officials of the Federal Government who criticised the PDP Governors’ Forum for their patriotic intervention should be guided by the fact that the APC sought power to solve the problems of Nigeria not to compound them or shift blame, or grandstand or use propaganda to obfuscate or confuse issues.

“PDP governed States are comparatively the best in Nigeria in terms of developmental policies, programmes, and projects that benefit their States positively, regular payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities, and minimum wage to their workforce.
“State governments that are delinquent on these issues are not of PDP extraction. It is false to say so.

“Even the food crises are exacerbated by insecurity and high exchange rate issues, among others, which are largely federal subjects.

“The PDP Governors as stakeholders in governance would continue to work collaboratively with Mr. President to find lasting solutions to a very difficult situation created or exacerbated by the APC since 2015. We believe in co-operative Federalism.

“The buck ultimately stops at Mr. Presidents table as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Chief Salesman and leader of Nigeria.

“We are not in doubt that he is trying his best. We only hope and pray that his best is good enough to take Nigeria out of the woods in the shortest possible time.”

The PDP, like every other Nigerian, has continued to lend its voice to what a major cross section of the nation has termed ‘total mismanagement’ of the economic fabric of the nation.

“Nigerians have not had a day of peace since Tinubu was sworn in on May 29, 2023,” a respondent told The Boss, echoing the lord complaints of majority of the citizens.

It would be recalled that Tinubu, on inauguration day, on inauguration ground, waved away petroleum subsidy, thereby throwing the nation into the darkness of hardship that has refused to ease nine months after.

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‘Bwala, Not Ex-Aide to Atiku Abubakar’

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The Atiku Abubakar Media Organisation has said that Mr Daniel Bwala, who worked for the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation during the 2023 elections, was never an aide of the former Vice President, warning that the media and members of the public should desist from addressing him as such.

A statement from the Atiku media office clarified that Bwala offered his services as a spokesperson for the campaign organization, and never an aide to the former VP, adding that he moved on with his career after the elections.

The statement reads:

Bwala is a former spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation and not a former aide to the former Vice President

It is important that the media and the general public take corrective note of defining Mr. Daniel Bwala as an aide to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar.

Bwala offered his services and support to the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization as a spokesperson – and it was a position he held during the last presidential campaign.

Subsequently, and after the election, the need for a campaign spokesperson has terminated, and Bwala has moved on with his career.

This, therefore, serves as notice to the media and the interested public to desist from defining Bwala as an ex-aide of Atiku Abubakar.

We duly urge the public to henceforth recognize, introduce, and define Daniel Bwala by his current vocation and alliance.

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