23rd November, 2017
BLAME FRSC MEN FOR ATTACKS
The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, yesterday confirmed the killing of one of its marshals by suspected kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna highway. It will be recalled that the FRSC Tsafe Command in Zamfara State was also invaded by unknown gunmen two months ago. The invasion led to the killing of one officer and the abduction of another.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemns these attacks but blames men of the FRSC for manifesting arrogance, avarice and arbitrary show of power on the highways. These are attitudes capable of stoking anti-FRSC sentiments and provoking premeditated attacks on its personnel by angry, frustrated and desperate Nigerians.
It is an open secret that men of the FRSC have lost public respect due to their attitude on the highways. They are in the habit of stopping vehicles arbitrarily and subjecting drivers to unnecessary interrogation thereby causing undue delay and suffering to travelers. This is why many motorists ignore their ‘stop’ signs and take the risk of being pursued by them.
Records show that such risky ventures have resulted in fatal crashes on many occasions. It is also on record that provoked members of the public have staged both peaceful and violent protests in the FRSC office. These incidents are indubitable proofs that men of the FRSC no longer enjoy public acceptance and trust.
Added to this is the high possibility of vehicles breaking down at the spots where they are stopped, the danger of being attacked by robbers after being stranded, the psychological trauma inflicted on families of stranded motorists and passengers at home and many more.
MURIC strongly opposes the stopping of vehicles whose drivers have not committed any traffic offence on highways just for the purpose of checking driving licences and vehicle particulars. This is not done in other climes. FRSC endangers the lives of innocent Nigerians by ordering vehicles to stop in isolated areas of our highways. It is highway terrorism. Nigerians deserve better treatment. FRSC is encroaching on Allah-given fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens to life, personal safety and personal esteem.
We therefore call on the people’s representatives in the National Assembly (NASS) to swiftly intervene and restore the citizens’ rights. Members of the NASS should identify with the Nigerian masses by taking urgent measures to stop men of the FRSC from stopping vehicles on highways. We urge the lawmakers to note that they have not fallen victims personally because they usually have police escorts when travelling. They should take action in the interest of the jamahiir (masses). It is our belief that the intervention of lawmakers will discourage those who take the law into their hands by attacking FRSC officials.
We are deeply concerned that men of the FRSC wear a combative mien, treat drivers and vehicle owners with disdain, look upon tax payers as captives, assume an aura of the Alpha and Omega and threaten motorists with seizure of their vehicles. This threat to impound vehicles is pronounced with impunity thereby casting fear in the hearts of motorists. It is suspected that this threat is designed to coerce motorists into ‘cooperation’ and the attendant extortion. Lonely motorists are the most susceptible to this treatment.
We state clearly, unequivocally, unambiguously and emphatically that men of the FRSC have no business stopping vehicles on the highway. It is not only dangerous but sadistic and murderous. They are to ensure smooth flow of traffic and assist motorists in distress. Why should they turn themselves into causes of distress? They can only go after traffic offenders and dangerous drivers.
These excesses recently led the Lagos State Government to ban men of the FRSC from Lagos roads. It can be adduced that what led to the ban was their misbehaviour to the wrong personalities.
MURIC appeals to the FRSC authorities to evolve a modern, more acceptable and less risky means of checking expired driving licences. Afterall it is a digital world. It is high time FRSC grew up. They should stop traumatizing and killing innocent Nigerians. FRSC is further advised to do more of public enlightenment than highway terrorism. The distribution of leaflets and mobilization of motorists for seminars and workshops will go a long way in reducing carnage on Nigerian roads.
In conclusion, we demand a clear policy statement from FRSC officials on the issue of stopping vehicles on highways. We commiserate with families of FRSC officials killed or kidnapped while on official duty. We urge Nigerian motorists to always ensure that their driving licences and vehicle particulars are updated as at when due. We invite members of the NASS to quickly set the machinery in motion to stop men of the FRSC from further endangering the lives of Nigerians. We appeal to all to eschew violent acts and to obey stop signals from all security and traffic agencies.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)