By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
The committee on transport at the National conference yesterday quizzed the Federal Road safety Corps (FRSC) over some of its roles, functions and activities.
Corps marshal of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka fielded questions from committee members on issues ranging from the issuance of driver’s licence, road signs, the FRSC’s relationship with the vehicle inspection office (VIO), to maximum vehicle weight allowed on Nigerian roads and financing the commission.
In regards to inter-agency coordination, particularly the FRSC’s relationship with the VIO, Osita informed the committee that the VIO is a state organ, while the FRSC is a Federal one. “VIO’s as their name implies; Vehicle inspection officers, are those who are supposed to inspect vehicles, issue certificates of road worthiness, and test drivers and present them for driver’s license, while the FRSC’s role was only to capture the data and store it in a database of all drivers in Nigeria,” he said.
On the growing trend of the indiscriminate use of sirens, Osita described the practice as a culture of impunity which the conference would hopefully address, urging action rather than words.
He said the FRSC was “working to regulate it but more importantly I think that the Ministry of transportation will help, in coordination. There is a problem of capacity in analysing and taking out remedial action. And there is no mandatory requirement for them to take out that remedial action which creates its own problem. So I think that if we can consider how to make the actions mandatory, it will help in the issue of sirens.
He listed the Abuja-Kubwa and Bwari- Kaduna, Nasarawa- Jos roads as “very high risk”, not only because of the nature of the roads, but also because of the fatalities on those roads
The Corps Marshal dismissed the idea of a national council of transportation, noting that it was a good idea but would only be like other councils such as those on health and works. “Even if you put them (the councils) as a constitutional provision, it will remain a council. I think we need to strengthen the ministry of transportation, in particular the personnel,” citing an example of a deputy director that was posted to the ministry of transport, but had never seen a port before.