Road Safety to deploy 21,000 personnel across Nigeria for yuletide
Abuja, Dec. 6, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The Federal road Safety Corps, FRSC says it is deploying 21,000 personnel and 1, 000 patrol vehicles across the country, to ensure free flow of traffic and safety on the highways during the yuletide season.
Corps Marshall of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi disclosed this to State House Correspondents, while briefing them on preparations for the end of year festivities.
According to Oyenyemi, the operations of the corps have been divided into three segments known as pre-Christmas, post-Christmas and post-New year, which will run from December 15 to January 15, 2019.
He said: “We are deploying over 21, 000 personnel to all these critical corridors with over 1000 patrol vehicles, including recovery vehicles, ambulances bikes.”
The Road Safety Corps boss said for easy coordination, the country has been partitioned into 52 corridors.
He said the FRSC is collaborating with the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to achieve a common objective of ensuring safety on all highways especially at the end of the year, when a lot of people travel.
“Both of us have been working together and we normally forward the Road Safety audit reports to FERMA and appropriate maintenance steps are being taken especially at the very critical areas. FERMA is carrying out palliative measures on all the critical areas on the highways, to ensure free flow of traffic. Our principal responsibility during this period is to ensure there are no gridlocks on the roads and people arrive at their various destinations safe, also, all the recovery vehicles have been deployed to critical locations and we are also working with the private tow trucks operators so that per adventure
“If there is any breakdown of vehicle or trucks, we will be able to remove such obstructions immediately.
“On military check points, we are taking it up with the chief of defense staff so that this can be relax a bit at the peak period but we cannot jeopardize what the military is doing in terms of security but we will work with them. Every year, the Nigeria Air force normally supports us with helicopters for aerial surveillance. One of the successes of recorded is the ability to carry out aerial surveillance not only end of patrol but during the festive period. This year is not an exemption that we are going to get the support of the Chief of Air Staff for the release of two helicopters for aerial surveillance,” he said.
Toll free calls
The Road Safety boss used the opportunity to encourage Nigerians, especially road users to make use of the tool free telephone number, 122, to report incidents or cases of accidents.
The Corps Marshall said the issues of overloading, vision ability and drink driving would also be addressed during the special operation across the country.
“We want to advise all the road users to plan their journeys but we are going to frown at overloading; any vehicle that is overloaded will not be allowed to continue the journey and also like we did during the last Sallah festival, we conducted periodic vision ability test for all the drivers and that was when we raised the alarm that about 30 percent of the commercial drivers have vision problem, anyone of them like that that we see we may have to ground him and look for alternatives for the passengers to enable them get to their destination safe. We are already working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, to address the problem whenever we come across a driver with poor sight,” he said.
He stated that mobile courts will also be put in place, to deal with cases of indiscipline and road traffic offences, stressing that advocacy is currently going on at various motor parks across the country, to sensitise drivers on some of the precautionary measures they need to take.
He said: “We believe that with the advocacy and the education that is going on, we will enable everybody in all the motor parks. For the mobile courts, 201 mobile courts will be activated nationwide next week. The essence is that peradventure they are some recalcitrant drivers we will be able to deal with the situation. And the only appeal we want to make is for all road users to give maximum support to the corps and FERMA officials because FERMA is still doing palliative work as we are talking. So, areas where rehabilitation is going on, let us show a level of discipline and appreciate the efforts of government in ensuring that the roads are fixed during this dry season so that we can all get to our destinations safely.”
24 hour surveillance
He emphasised that the officers and men of the FRSC would be at their duty posts day and night.
“We are also going to have about 40 road camps nationwide. Road camps is where the personnel will not go home, they will be running shifts, work late at night to ensure that all the vehicles are left. They will be at the camps overnight so that as early as 4am they will be up. We will also make use of the road side clinics; we have 26 of them nationwide in addition to the road camps we are setting up. We have on Lagos-Ibadan expressway because it has the highest volume of traffic and because of the construction and rehabilitation of the roads, some two-lane carriage ways is comprised into a single lane. This will bring a kind of slow movements of vehicles. So we need more understanding, we will be giving traffic situation report every hour as from next week but we need the support of the people to understand that it is not a crash. When you have three lanes reduced to one especially during this period, we should not attempt to face incoming vehicle and go and face a logjam completely. We need to warn that when we see those recalcitrant drivers, those are the ones we are going to take to the mobile courts for prosecution. And drink driving is something we are going to really prosecute. We have purchased digital “alcoholisers”, I want to assure members of the public that we will lessen the stress of this end of the year patrol 2018/2019,” he said.
The Managing Director of FERMA, Nurudeen Rafindadi said the Federal Executive Council had since directed the agency to ensure that roads across the country are smooth, safe and comfortable for users especially during the end of year festivities.
He said FERMA has identified 353 critical roads in Nigeria that need urgent attention, in order to make road users comfortable.
“Consequent on the Nigerian government and the Ministry of Works directives that roads which are mostly used by commuters during the festive season should be made motorable and comfortable in order to ensure safe passage and avoid the usually occurring perennial traffic gridlocks, there has been a series of coordination between the ministry, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). This coordination has been going on at least for the last five weeks. In addition to the major construction works that are being done by the ministry of works, the agency has identified a total of about 353 critical roads that need palliative measures specifically during this period.
“The bulk of this work has been allocated between the department of construction rehabilitation of the ministry of works and FERMA. In order to realise this goal, the agency which has been assigned 16 very critical and prominent roads that need to be addressed immediately within the period. The agency has put in place an implementation plan for the maintenance and repair of these identified federal roads as well as other roads that are frequently used by motorists especially during this period even the roads that are outside the ministries jurisdiction,” he said.
The FERMA boss said the agency had since swung into action in line with government’s directive.
He said: “Efforts have been made towards deployment of resources and personnel for the repair of these roads that have been assigned to FERMA. Some of our field officers are already engaging workers for direct labour and those roads that we identified and agreed with the ministry, we designate into two priorities: Priority one, a lot of the work are concentrated around 16 major routes, they include: Oyo-Ibadan road in Ogun State, Minna-Tegina road in Niger State, Sheda -Abaji road on the FCT/Kogi State, Abaji-Kotonkarfe road in Kogi State, Itakpe -Federal College of Education Road around Okene in Kogi State, Agbo-Asaba road in Delta State, sections along Benin -Warri road in Delta State, Lokoja-Ajaokuta road in Kogi State, Itobe-Ayangba-Ankpa -Otukpa road in Kogi State, Uyo-James town road in Akwa Ibom State, Ogoja -Katsina Ala road in Cross River State, Biu road in Gombe state, Damaturu-Mauduguri road in Yobe and Borno State, Bauchi-Jos -Akwanga roads in Plateau and Nasarawa States, Bauch-Potiskum road in Bauchi and Yobe State; Katsina – Jibia road in Katsina State.”
Rafindadi said FERMA’S implementation plan is in two parts: “first part which has commenced, from the first week of December involved stocking of road repair materials and subsequent palliative repair on identified road sections that are damage along these roads that I mentioned under this category prioritisation.
“The second part of this implementation is to intensify and expand all ongoing direct labour specifically along the roads that I mentioned and other major arterial roads with isolated potholes. There are many roads that have become a perennial cause for attention for FERMA especially roads that are leading into major population centres and major urban areas, for instance, Abuja-Keffi road which is a major gateway into the FCT. This is a road that has a year round attention and by the nature of the problem they require constant attention.
He said the final solution to many of the roads that need urgent attention would be to embark on total reconstruction of the roads, some of which have been flagged off by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.