… Plans for closure of Nnnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Closure
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi has directed Commanding Offices nationwide to sustain the current tempo of patrol activities.
He gave the directive while addressing reporters on the review of the last year’s special operation, saying the exercise recorded tremendous success, as most motorists complied fully with rules and regulations leading to few cases of road obstructions.
Oyeyemi pointed out that the special patrol which was codenamed, “Operation Zero Tolerance,” was flagged off on 19 December 2016 and lasted till 15 January 2017 with massive deployment of personnel and logistics. He noted that the focus of the patrol were on lane indiscipline; speeding, dangerous overtaking and overloading with monitors deployed from the National Headquarters to the Field Commands to ensure compliance to the directives issued by the National Headquarters on the operational order.
The FRSC Boss disclosed that prior to the commencement of the exercise, studies were carried out along the major corridors to determine the traffic trends, the challenges of traffic management and human and logistics requirements that could adequately tackle the perennial challenges characterised by increased human and vehicular traffic within the yuletide season. He added that as part of the strategies, the Corps increased its partnership initiatives with Governors of the states affected by serious traffic congestions for combined efforts against the gridlock, death and injuries.
“Furthermore, the patrol attracted massive participation of over 36,000 staff of the FRSC including members of the Special Marshals with deployment of all FRSC’s operational logistics such as patrol vehicles, Advance Life Support Ambulances, Heavy Duty Tow Trucks, Medium and Light Duty Tow Trucks as well as Motorbikes across the country,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal disclosed that Help Areas and alternative routes were identified and established as part of the efforts to facilitate movement of traffic throughput the period of the operation. He commended FRSC for conducting themselves diligently during the operation, imploring them to sustain such commitment to discipline, sacrifice and improved productivity. “Accordingly, the staff remained committed to the challenges of keeping the road safer and freer for motorists which were the focus of the exercise that involved aerial surveillance operation organised in collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal also acknowledged the support of relevant stakeholders during the operation, including members of the security agencies, transport unions and civil society groups, pointing out that their leaderships rallied round the FRSC to ensure that motorists complied fully with traffic rules and regulations. “The Nigerian Air Force particularly availed the Corps of its Helicopters for aerial surveillance which boosted traffic management along the critical corridors.”
He further noted that while the successes recorded by the Corps could be attributed to the combination of the aforementioned efforts, the role of the Federal Government remains critical, as it had earlier assisted the Corps with considerable logistics to combat the seemingly intractable traffic menace of the country. “Consequently, this year’s exercise was more orderly with fewer cases of traffic infractions and shunting by convoy drivers,” Oyeyemi stated..
Speaking on road traffic crashes recorded within the period, the Corps Marshal disclosed that a total of 790 road traffic crashes were recorded in which 461 people lost their lives while 2,895 sustained various degrees of injuries. He added, however, that 2,713 people were rescued alive. “In the same vein, a total of 29,961 traffic offenders were booked for 22,516 offences,” he stated.
On speed limiting device checks, the Corps Marshal observed that the average speed of motorists within the period ranged between 110 to 130km/hr, thus efforts were made to determine their level of compliance to speed limit regulations. “Furthermore, a total of 2,899 traffic offenders were arraigned between the Mobile Courts held across the country, out of which 2,643 offenders were convicted. Of these numbers, 8 were given jail terms while 248 were discharged and acquitted,” he stressed.
Speaking on the planned closure of Nnnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and diversion of flights to Kaduna airport, Oyeyemi stated that the Corps expects tremendous increase in human and vehicular traffic along Kaduna-Abuja road within the period of closure, assuring that FRSC has mapped out appropriate strategies that could deal with the anticipated human and vehicular traffic for prevention of all forms of road mishaps.
“Consequently, 8 additional FRSC out-posts are being established along the route from the Kaduna airport up to Abuja, while more vehicles and other operational logistics are to be procured and deployed alongside adequate personnel to respond promptly to emergencies,” he stated. The Corps Marshal restated the commitment of the FRSC to full enforcement of the law on use of speed limiters, noting that in line with the Presidential directives and the collective decision of the stakeholders, 1st February 2017 enforcement date earlier set remains sacrosanct.
While commending the Federal Government for its various support for the FRSC particularly, the approval of the National Road Safety Strategy document, the Corps Marshal disclosed that as part of the continuing goodwill of the Federal Government to the Corps, the National Road Safety Advisory Council (NaRSAC) under the chairmanship of the Vice President is expected to be inaugurated next year. On fight against corruption and corrupt practices among staff, the Corps Marshal disclosed that in line with the stand of his Management, those staff that violated the disciplinary codes of the Corps within the last one year had been duly tried and punished to serve as deterrence to others while the trial process is being facilitated to make expedite action on those that run foul of the FRSC rules.
On cases of assault against staff, the Corps Marshal frowned at acts of violence being perpetrated against staff of the Corps while performing their statutory duties on the highways with some of them getting killed as a result of such violence. He described the acts as barbaric and warned perpetrators to desist, saying the Corps will use all legal means to protect its personnel and bring such perpetrators to book.
Speaking on 2017 strategic goals, the Corps Marshal revealed that after exhaustive review of the Corps’ performance in 2016, Management has come up with four strategic goals for 2017. These, he said are: enhanceSd public education and enlightenment; improved enforcement and post-crash care; advanced road safety administration and strengthening of professionalism and transparency in the system.
Oyeyemi called on all Nigerians especially the stakeholders to continue to render the necessary support to the FRSC to ensure safer and more secured road during the New Year, urging motorists to drive to save a life