…Tells other African Countries to Emulate Nigeria’s FRSC
…as WARSO Marks 10th Anniversary in Nigeria
The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi has expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s investment in road safety, calling on the other African countries especially in the sub-region to emulate the country’s example.
Oyeyemi stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during a press conference organized to mark the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of the West African Road Safety Organization (WARSO).
The Corps Marshal, who was represented by the Deputy Corps Marshal in charge of Operations, Ojeme Ewhrudjakpor, expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s investment in road safety
“It is equally a member of the United Nations Expert Group on Road Signs and Signals, sitting in Geneva among other firsts that it has recorded over the years,” he stated
While looking back at the evolution of WARSO, the Corps Marshal stated that as FRSC continued to record considerable achievements in its road safety campaigns, it was taught expedient for the West African sub-region to be equally emancipated in view of the interwoven destinies of member states of ECOWAS for socio-economic and security development. “The leadership of the Corps therefore took it upon itself to create an enabling platform within the sub-region in 2008 to drive the campaign for the trans-national safer road environment,” he further stated.
“The initiative came into fruition on 8 May, 2008 when representatives of the fifteen member states of ECOWAS on the invitation of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria attended the inaugural meeting where all the member states agreed to form the West African Road Safety Organization (WARSO),” he added.
The Corps Marshal further stressed that the pioneering efforts of the FRSC in the formation of WARSO was made possible by the experiences garnered from the International Road Safety Organization of African Group, where the Corps had played leadership roles for about a decade before it became inactive due to lack of commitment by member countries from other sub-regions in the African Continent.
He enumerated the aims of WARSO to include establishing a road safety management sub-regional organization for the integration of road safety matters of member states, for the collective socio-economic development. Some of the specific objectives of WARSO according to him are: to advise and give support to road safety bodies; promote and encourage exchange of experiences and information among members in order to efficiently reduce road crashes; encourage cooperation between different national and sub-regional bodies or individuals, legal entities and research centers, towards promoting and reinforcing road safety.
Others he said include, organizing and promoting joint activities for road safety; giving attention to the effects of road traffic crashes in West Africa; promotion of education on road traffic regulations in schools and training of specialists as far as road safety is concerned and encourage the collection, broadcasting and publishing of specialized documents and books dealing with road safety as well as promoting the development of local expertise and research on road safety in West African Countries, among others.
The FRSC Corps Marshal who was the immediate President of the WARSO, noted that with the inauguration of the organization on 8 May, 2008, the then Corps Marshal, Osita Chidoka emerged as the pioneer President and assisted by representatives from Cote d’Ivoire and Mali who served as 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents, respectively. “The pioneer President steered the ship of the organization for six years until he was appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and my appointment as the Corps Marshal.”
“I therefore took over as President of the organization and completed the remaining two years of Nigeria’s second term which lasted till Thursday, December 8, 2016 when a new election was conducted at the 7th Annual General Meeting in Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire in which Mamadou Sidiki Konate, the Director General of Agence Nationale de la Securite Routiere (ANASER) of Mali emerged as the President of the organization and assisted by Ghana and Burkina Faso as 1st and second Vice President, respectively,” he stated.
Some of the notable achievements of the organization within ten years of its existence are: establishment of WARSO Secretariat; capacity building; promotion of Road Safety education in schools across the sub-region; decision on the use of Retro-reflective tape by vehicles in West Africa; decision on the use of Speed Limiting Device and regional Accident Report and Information Template. Others are designing of Accident Report Template for the sub-region in 2012 and advice to member states to key into it to enable uniformity in crash investigation and reporting system; increase in active member states; global recognition of WARSO; community Based Road Safety Respondents programme and rotational hosting of Meetings.
The Corps Marshal further noted that the tenth anniversary of the organization provides member states opportunity to reflect on its past performances and critically review its strength and weaknesses in the face of growing road safety challenges in the sub-region, saying the theme for the celebration, “WARSO in the Last Decade: The Journey So Far,” was chosen to enable member states create public awareness on the activities of the organization in the last ten years and project future accomplishment targets. He was however convinced that looking back at the formation of WARSO in the last ten years; stakeholders agreed that the vision of the founding fathers of the organization has been vindicated as it is evidently on track.
The FRSC Boss who applauded the Nigerian government for taking issues of road safety seriously, noted that the commitment shown by the people and government of Nigeria towards issues of road safety would not be toyed with, particularly as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has continued to strengthen the FRSC through increased budgetary allocation and general capacity development measures. “Road safety stakeholders in Nigeria are equally excited about the Federal Government’s approval of the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) and inauguration of the National Road Safety Advisory Council (NaRSAC) under the chairmanship of His Excellency, the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Technical Working Group (TWG) under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister for Budget and National Planning,” he stated.
“Nigeria’s example will no doubt spur other member states of the sub-regional body into action for collective resolve to rid African continent of the menace of road traffic crashes. On our part, FRSC will remain committed to the success of road safety campaigns in the country and overall success of the campaign in the sub-region by working with other member states of WARSO to ensure that the organization remains focused, resourceful and committed to safety of lives and property of all road users within the sub-regional roads,” he further stated.
Goodwill Messages came from stakeholders including the Minister of Health, who was represented; the President of Road Safety Officers’ Wives Association (ROSOWA), Mrs Yemisi Oyeyemi; representative of President of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and Focal person, United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Barrister Boss Mustapha who was represented by the Director of Information in his office, in his address commended the FRSC for promoting issues of road safety, not only in Nigeria, but in the West African sub-region. He called on relevant stakeholders to remain steadfast in their support for the campaigns for safer road environment in the country to avert the menace that has been the source of destruction of precious lives and distortion of the national economy.
Part of the activities to mark the celebration was motorcade and Motor Park rallies by the FRSC personnel, members of the Special Marshals and Road Safety Clubs to create public awareness on issues of road safety.