This year marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Road Safety Commission via Decree No. 45 of 1988 as amended by Decree 35 of 1992 referred to in the statute books as the FRSC Act cap 141 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN). Passed by the National Assembly as Federal Road Safety Commission (establishment) Act 2007.
FRSC was established primarily to make the highway safe for motorists and other road users. Thereafter, the commission was saddled with additional responsibilities such as:
Educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of discipline on the highway; preventing or minimizing accidents on the highway; clearing obstructions on any part of the highways; educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of the highways; and designing and producing the driver’s licence to be used by various categories of vehicle operators.
Others are determining, from time to time, the requirements to be satisfied by an applicant for a driver’s licence; designing and producing vehicle number plates, and the standardization of highway traffic codes, among others.
But how has the organisation travelled in the last 30 years? What has it achieved in the last three scores? There are some notables- it has succeeded in producing a standard vehicle number plate for the country, though some critics say the design of the current plates is not any better than the previous design.
It is has also educated drivers over the years and enforced the use of seat belts for driver and front passenger. When will it enforce seat belt use for rear passengers?, we are eager to know.
FRSC has also encouraged and assisted in setting up state traffic agencies, as about 20 states have keyed in and established traffic agencies, LASTMA is a good example in Lagos state.
The Special Marshals and Road Safety Clubs, established by the FRSC is another kudos worthy of mention. The Special Marshals are meant to complement the efforts of the Regular Marshal.
Nonetheless, it has witnessed its own share of ups and downs. As a federal government agency, present in all states of the federation, it is known to be highly under-funded as it goes cap in hand soliciting for support for even office spaces.
The FRSC has however not been able to enforce the use of crash helmets in spite its repeated efforts. Even with the collaboration of other law enforcement agencies, it is still a mirage.
Also, the enthusiasm and zeal that followed the enforcement of speed limiters on commercial vehicles last year appears to have evaporated. Nowadays, nobody talks about speed limiters, did the FRSC fail in this regard?
And to conclude on a sad note, the FRSC which use to be a no go area for graft, seems to have changed. This is because some of their officers on the road have compromised.
Be that as it may, with the current leadership headed by Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, it is believed that he has a competent management team that can identify these short comings, some of which are not mentioned here, and make amends. Happy anniversary, FRSC!!!