[dropcap]P[/dropcap]resident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for the commitment it has shown to road safety campaigns, saying his administration will remain committed to supporting it to achieve optimal performance.
The President stated this on Monday while commissioning the 283 operational vehicles procured for the FRSC by the Federal Government to boost its operational activities.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd) stated that the establishment of the FRSC 28 years ago was a demonstration of government’s concerns for the safety and security of road users. He noted that in sustaining government’s goodwill for the success of road safety campaigns in the country, the administration has remained unrelenting in its commitment to provision of road infrastructure and development of capacity of staff of the FRSC including provision of facilities that could enhance effective management of traffic on the nation’s highways.
“This administration is committed to the ideals of road safety and will continue to demonstrate its support for the FRSC in its commitment to ensuring safety of lives on the nation’s roads,” he stated.
President Buhari further stated that government is aware of the various policies and programmes being put in place by the FRSC to manage the nation’s highways, giving examples of such policies as Road Transport Safety Standardization Scheme (RTSSS); reforms in the licensing system of the country and other operational mechanisms being put in place to address the menace of road traffic crashes in the country. According to him, in line with government’s commitment to the success of the United Nations Decade of Action For Road Safety: 2011-2020, Nigeria in 2010, became a signatory to the Vienna and Geneva Conventions on Road Markings and Signage, after over 40 and 60 years without the nation’s endorsement.
“Furthermore, in the nation’s desire to inculcate road safety culture into young children, the Federal Government infused the studies of road safety into the school curriculum as approved by the Council of Education with effort to provide for child safety through the School Bus initiative meant to guarantee safe movement of students,” the President stated.
On the driving school standardization programme initiated by the Corps, the President noted that the policy was introduced to ensure standardization and certification of the operations of the driving schools in the country, saying through the scheme, driving schools across the country are now linked to driver’s licence acquisition to ensure that new applicants for the driver’s licence receive the requisite training before certification and procession of their driver’s licences. He further noted that to ensure fundamental restructuring of the driving culture of Nigerians, government approved the introduction of the biometric-based driver’s licence to fight the scourge of fake and duplication of licences in the country.
“With the approved reforms, licensing of vehicles in Nigeria now provide accurate data that populate the national database on vehicles and their owners which makes it possible for introduction of speed camera, e-ticketing and remote enforcement,” he stated. The President further stated that the reforms in the licensing system of the country have launched Nigeria into the age of digitalised road transport management system, in line with global best practices in road safety management and administration, assuring that government will continue to demonstrate the necessary political support for the success of all road safety programmes in Nigeria.
“That is why this administration expediently approved the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy Document (NRSS) as recently endorsed by the National Economic Council (NEC) during its last sitting,” he stated.
President Buhari however pointed out that road safety is not the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government, stressing that every Nigerian should see himself or herself as active participant in the collective campaigns that would ensure safe motoring environment as evidenced by the NRSS document which spelt out the role that all tiers of government, including the private and public sectors as well as stakeholders could play in funding road safety activities in the country.
“Let me therefore, commend the leadership of the FRSC and the entire staff for the initiatives and commitment to vigorously pursue road safety programmes for safety and security of lives and property on the road,” he stated.
President Buhari stated that the award of the Quality Management System Certification (QMS) (ISO 9001:2008) to the FRSC by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is a further testimony to the success of the reforms which the FRSC has undertaken over the years, saying it must be sustained to further guarantee safety of all road users.
According to the President, it was to further boost the operational success of the Corps and in line with the administration’s desire to ensure safety and security of lives and property of the citizens that the procurement of two hundred and eighty three (283) operational vehicles being commissioned today was done.
“These vehicles will no doubt boost the operational capability of the FRSC and enhance the capacity of the personnel to face the challenges of enforcing traffic rules and regulations on the nation’s highways.
“It is our hope that the fleet of vehicles would give impetus to the ongoing global campaign for road safety under the auspices of the United Nations Decade of Action For Road Safety: 2011-2020.
“I assure the Management of the FRSC that this administration will continue to render necessary support for the success of its campaigns for safety on the nation’s roads for the enhancement of the economic activities and tourist potentials of the people,” the President stated.
President Buhari urged Nigerians to support FRSC and other law enforcement agencies in their efforts to ensure safety and security of the people. He however gave directive to the FRSC to initiate process that could lead to effective control of offences of driving against traffic and overloading which are rampart among drivers, thus constituting hazards to road users.
In his address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engineer Babachir David Lawal described the commissioning of the operational vehicles as historic and a clear demonstration of Federal Government’s support for the FRSC, saying the action is in line with the present administration’s commitment to issues of safety of lives and property of the people.
According to him, the administration of President Buhari pays special attention to issues of human safety as well as welfare and security of the people wherever they live and work, noting that the event further demonstrates the values which administration holds in the highest esteem. The SGF noted that as a nation that depends on road as the most preferred means of transportation, there is the continuing need for government at all levels to show interest in the safety of road travellers through adequate investment in matters of road safety. This he said informed government’s decision to support the FRSC in all its policies and programmes.
Engineer Babachir Lawal further stated that the decision by the administration to release the Corps’ capital budgetary allocations which enabled the procurement of the vehicles was to enhance the operational capability of the Corps and make it possible for it to carry out its statutory responsibilities more efficiently. He further noted that as the custodian of road safety in the country, government believes that with adequate provision of human and material resources to it, FRSC could be empowered to perform its role of keeping the roads safe better.
The SGF recalled that the commissioning of the operational vehicles was the first time in the history of the FRSC that over two hundred fleet of vehicles comprising of ambulances and tow trucks would be injected into the Corps at once, noting that the gesture would motivate the staff for improved productivity and greater visibility on the nation’s highways.
“I wish to assure Your Excellency that with this empowerment given to the FRSC, there would not be any hiding places for violators of traffic rules and regulations on the road, as these vehicles would be deployed to effectively man the roads, ensure prompt removal of wrecks and respond promptly to distress calls to emergencies for maximum protection of road users,” he further stated.
In his welcome address, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari for his consistent support for the FRSC’s road safety campaigns and concerns for safety and security of lives and property of the people, saying these manifested in the provision of the operational vehicles being commissioned today.
Oyeyemi particularly commended the President for his approval of the use of speed limiting devices which would enable the Corps control speed-related crashes; the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy document and approval for the Corps to train all convoy drivers, stressing that these supports culminated in the procurement of the 283 operational vehicles for the Corps.
According to the Corps Marshal, the vehicles would empower the Corps to effectively man the roads and deliver safety to the people, saying FRSC’s commitment to the attainment of the targets of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2011-2020 has been boosted by the provision of the equipment. Oyeyemi assured the President, that in line with his desire to re-position the Corps for effective performances, the vehicles would be immediately deployed and effectively utilized for maximum results.
The Corps Marshal thanked the road safety stakeholders for their consistent support for the safer road campaign, assuring Nigerians that the FRSC would not waver in its commitment to making the nation’s roads safe for all travelers.
Highlights of the commissioning ceremony which attracted guests from the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies including the Minister of State, Health and representatives of the Armed Forces, was the inauguration of the vehicles by the representative of the President, who was supported by the Corps Marshal and other special guests. Thereafter there was an inspection of the vehicles by the President’s representative who commended the FRSC for its initiatives on road safety.