[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, has condemned the unprovoked attacks and molestation of operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps on the highways and vowed to prosecute all those involved.
According to Bisi Kazeem, Corps Public Education Officer, FRSC, the Corps Marshal’s response came on the heels of the recent shooting of two FRSC staff and the detention of another in a Police facility in Abia State.
The Corps Marshal stated, “Many road users are abusing the civility of the unarmed personnel that are trained to be cautious while discharging their legitimate duties. In the past, many FRSC operatives had been abducted, killed, assaulted, ran over, threatened and shot. It is also disheartening that some of the attackers misinformed the unsuspecting public by releasing manipulated information to gain public sympathy. Attempts are often made to make the aggressors looked like the victims.”
The Corps Marshal said the FRSC remains the nation’s lead agency on road traffic administration and safety management empowered to arrest and prosecute erring motorists. He added, “Section 10 (4) of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 states categorically that members of the Corps shall have powers to arrest and prosecute persons reasonably suspected to have committed any traffic offence. Resistance based on ignorance of the law or impunity can no longer be grounds to attack operatives carrying out their lawful duties. We will definitely not abdicate our statutory responsibilities.”
On the Abia case where our men were shot, the FRSC Corps Marshal said, “While we commend the Abia State Police Commissioner for swiftly directing the arrest and orderly room trial of the Policemen who shot the FRSC staff at Aro Ngwa along the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway last Saturday, the Corps is deeply saddened by the shooting. It is also greatly concerned that the two young men were abandoned with their gun wounds by the Policemen attached to the wife of the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly who shot them. Obviously, they were left to die at the scene by these Policemen who are also employees of government. He thanked the road users that assisted the two injured and abandoned staff to the hospital, adding that he hoped the two victims, who are still been treated, will not suffer life-threatening injuries.
The Corps Marshal also recalled the case in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where an investigating panel revealed that a patrol team flagged down a driver for routine checks. When his car was to be impounded for running foul of traffic laws, a female staff was attached to the offender’s vehicle to accompany the vehicle to a nearby FRSC office for other necessary processes as contained in the operational procedure to be effected, the driver sped away with the female staff. A patrol team, obviously concerned about the motive of the fleeing driver, had to apply force to rescue the female operative. The manipulated video which the suspect released afterwards only told one side of the story. The Corps is determined to follow through with the suspect’s prosecution as a deterrent.
The case in Jigawa was also pathetic. An FRSC patrol team was carrying out its legitimate duties along the Kiyawa – Dutse road in Jigawa State when a team of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) officials challenged the team for daring to check vehicles for excessive overloading and installation of the Speed Limiting Devices. They not only set the FRSC patrol vehicle ablaze but aso badly damaged another vehicle. The FRSC office was also destroyed by the rampaging NURTW officials.
The Jigawa incident resulted in fatality as one person was killed and several others injured.
It will also be recalled that an FRSC personnel in Oluyole Unit Command, Oyo State was almost strangled to death by a driver who was accosted for contravening traffic laws. The Corps has turned down the plea for out-of-court settlement by the now sober attacker.
The Corps Marshal said that all the attacks had been collated, well documented and would be brought to the attention of all the relevant arms of government for necessary action. Enough, he said, was enough.
Meanwhile, the Corps Marshal has assured all staff that the Corps would not leave any stone unturned to prosecute all those involved in the recent spate of attacks. He also said additional steps were being taken to further protect staff performing their legitimate duties and asked them to continue to discharge their duties without fear or ill-will.
“The hall mark of gallant operatives is never to be deterred by negative influences but focused in the commitment to service for the sake of posterity,” Oyeyemi added.
He appealed to all sister security operatives and the general public to always come to the aid of the Marshals when they are under threat.
“If the laws are not strictly enforced,” he said, “road safety becomes the first casualty. Nobody knows the next victim.”