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THREE AND HALF DECADES OF ENTRENCHING SAFETY ON NIGERIAN ROADS: A TALE OF THE FRSC LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE – BISI KAZEEM

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Nigeria is one of the few African countries that has leveraged on some road safety principles and have recorded remarkable progress in road safety administration and management despite a ‘gloomy’ beginning. The road safety situation in Nigeria was so deplorable that the World Health Organisation once described the country as ‘worst in the world to travel on’ only next to Ethiopia.

That narrative changed through government’s efforts by establishing the Federal Road Safety Commission as the Lead Agency to guarantee safety on every centimetre of Nigeria’s expansive road network of 204,000km. This establishment was done ten years prior to United Nations recommendation for all member states to establish agencies directly situated under the central government for ease of unfettered operation.

The vision behind the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Corps which is to eradicate Road Traffic Crashes on Nigeria roads is based on the premise that road crashes are caused and highly preventable. Over the last three decades or more, and arising from the above statistics of deaths, injuries and damage to properties, can Nigerians confidently posit that the Federal Road Safety Corps has made policies and embarked upon programmes and activities that are in harmony and consistent with global best practices on Road Traffic Administration and Safety Management? Can we possibly say that the paramilitary outfit has achieved its statutory mandate of eradicating Road Traffic Crashes on Nigerian roads? Can the FRSC be said to have educated the motoring public enough? Have they been able to entrench safe road use culture into drivers in Nigeria? Answers to these and many more questions on Road Safety will give us a sense of direction as to whether or not the 18 February, 1988 proclamation by the Military administration of President Ibrahim Babangida has actually saved the lives it was established to save.

Since coming on board, the Federal Road Safety Corps has as a matter of fact blossomed on all sides through strategic innovations and sheer resilience of it’s personnel, into one of the most professionally inclined and reputable national institution; and of course, a global brand and an exemplar of best road safety operations and practices in Africa.

Beginning from 18 February, 1988 when the Corps commenced full operational activities geared towards eradicating road traffic crashes, the Federal Road Safety Corps has brought down annual record of crashes from over Forty Thousand crashes per year to below Five Thousand at the moment.

The Corps is and will always remain the frontline agency in traffic regulations in Nigeria. Being the lead government agency for traffic superintendent and guardianship and evolving from a humble beginning with it’s technical and management headquarters located at no 9 Oshuntokun Street, Bodija Ibadan, Oyo State and the outpost and liason office located in three story building in Wuse zone 2, Abuja with just a dozen Staff and 200 Youth Corps Members operating from 6 locations and striving to get it’s feet, to transforming into a mega force amongst paramilitary organisations in Nigeria with thousands of formations scattered across the 774 local governments in the country.

Through unprecedented innovations in information and communication technology and effective operational tools, FRSC has grown to become a reference point in excellent service delivery in Nigeria; the benchmark for road safety management and administration in Africa and an exemplar of global best practices in it’s operations.

The Corps has also been well known in terms of it’s origin and trajectory which has the imprimatur of Africa’s first Nobel Laureate for Literature, Prof Woke Soyinka, who made it a project and agency to behold. From the pioneer Corps Marshal, Dr. Olu Agunloye to Chief Osita Chidoka all of whom were appointed from the civil population, the Corps witnessed a formidable foundation laying processes that has provoked effectiveness, efficiency and pragmatism in road safety administration in Nigeria. The icing on the cake on these developmental stride came with the appointment of career Staff as Corps Marshal from Boboye Oyeyemi to the present Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu whose innate experience and expertise has and is still giving the Corps the needed push necessary for it to stay atop.

The luscious development is that in its thirty five years as lead agency in traffic and safety management, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has recorded tremendous achievements in the area of Traffic Engineering, Road Safety Administration, Traffic Management, rescue operation,changing bad road use behaviour and Crash reduction. The road traffic management Agency achieved this glorious feat, through a chain of pragmatic leadership, sagacity of different generations of management, ingenuity of its Policy formulators and the dexterity of the handlers of policy implementation.

These leaders have entrenched within the Corps, a wealthy culture of professionalism and excellence in service delivery, which has positioned it as the lead agency in road safety management and traffic administration, with a passionate and enduring commitment to creating a safer motoring environment that is unequalled in the African sub-region. This unquenchable commitment asserts undue pressure on the Corps; thereby propelling it to more than ever before, continue to strengthen its strategies, programmes, knowledge and processes, capable of surmounting all challenges militating against effective and efficient administration of safety in Nigeria.

Just as stated in previous publications, it is most imperative to bring to the fore that beginning from the second decade of the Corps’ existence, frantic efforts have been put in place to expand both the internal and external horizons of the Corps with more robust collaborations on all fronts that has led to a paradigm shift in road safety administration, from Traditional approach to Safe Systems Approach.

Through the use of state of the art Information Technology facilities; the Corps has been able to develop transformational initiatives focused on People, Processes and Technology (PPT) that is why today not only does it staff pride as the most disciplined, but the Corps stands as the best Information Technology (IT) driven organization in Nigeria with its robust data base and over 95 percentage digitalized administrative and operational procedures.

The current leadership of the Federal Road Safety Corps, headed by Dauda Ali Biu came on board in December, 2022 and from inception, the administration took bold steps towards the development of a vigorous framework for enhancing safe motoring environment in Nigeria. This strategic initiative has been the bedrock for the new innovations that have become ostensible in road safety administration and traffic Management in broad-spectrum. The laid foundation is premised on the resolve to place great attention to all the administrative variables that could enhance productivity, effectiveness and efficiency in the work process.

Part of these include, but not limited to improvement in equipment and other work tools such as the procurement of tow trucks for clearance of obstructions, patrol motorbikes, and patrol vehicles, (hilux), ambulances, and staff buses to convey staff to their workplace; employee motivation through improved welfare, and massive promotion of Officers and men which has been widely applauded by members of the FRSC nationwide; purposeful collaboration with all stakeholders such as transport stakeholders, media stakeholders, interagency collaboration, and civil society organizations. His administration is also upholding discipline in all areas.

With the strategies and tactics deployed for decisive continuity and innovation which the Corps has applied in the conduct of its affairs in the last few months, it is given that incredible improvements have been made in road safety management in Nigeria today; especially arising from the continuous involvement of staff in the process of strategy building and developments in operational front which is very significant and has stimulated buy-in in all policy areas.

The Corps has put in place an unambiguous vision and mission projections designed to guide its affairs on short, medium and long term endeavours.

BISI KAZEEM ,
FRSC’S CORPS PUBLIC EDUCATION OFFICER

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Food Security: Coalition of CSOs Extol Agric Minister for revolutionizing sector

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The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, COCSON, Friday, hailed the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, over policies driven to boost food security and crash high food prices.

The commendation was made during a press conference held in Abuja, where the spokesman, COCSON, Adebayo Oluwaseun, on behalf of the Coalition acknowledged and appreciated the Minister while noting that the leadership he has demonstrated since his appointment had impacted positively on the agricultural sector as he is currently revolutionizing the industry and ensuring Nigeria and Nigerians are food secure.

According to Oluwaseun, the Minister has been committed to the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan, NATIP, which has been instrumental in modernizing the agricultural space, whereby there have been technological advancements and empowerment of smallholder farmers across the country.

He said: “It is with great pride and a profound sense of optimism that we, the members of COCSON, gather here today to applaud the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, for his exceptional leadership and the transformative impact he has had on the agricultural landscape of our beloved country, Nigeria.

“Since his appointment, Minister Abubakar has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to driving positive change, implementing bold initiatives, and positioning the agricultural sector as a key driver of economic growth and sustainable development in Nigeria.”

According to COCSON, the Minister has empowered women and youth in the agricultural sector, including initiatives to provide specialized capacity building and access to financing, and giving opportunities to underrepresented groups, enabling them to become active contributors to the sector’s growth and development.

“The Minister’s unwavering support for women and youth in agriculture has been truly transformative. By investing in their skills, knowledge, and entrepreneurial spirit, he has not only empowered these crucial demographics but also paved the way for a more inclusive and sustainable agricultural ecosystem in Nigeria.

“The coalition is confident that under your stewardship, the sector will continue to thrive, contributing to the country’s food security, economic prosperity, and sustainable development.

“Kyari’s dedication, innovation, and tireless efforts have truly set a new standard for agricultural leadership in Nigeria. We, the members of COCSON, pledge our unwavering support and commitment to working alongside the Minister to further strengthen the agricultural sector and realize our collective vision of a prosperous, food-secure, and environmentally sustainable Nigeria”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Secretary, COCSON, Fatima Usman, “Under Minister Abubakar’s leadership, the NATIP has been a game-changer, revolutionizing the way we approach agriculture in Nigeria.

“Through this innovative plan, we have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields, improved access to cutting-edge farming techniques, and the creation of numerous job opportunities for our youth in the agricultural value chain.”

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EFCC’s ‘Slouchy Utterances’ Against Bello: MPPR Condemns Agency’s Bias, Calls for Fair Play

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….Says chairman should tell Nigerians why he wants Bello to follow the back door to see him?

Leadership of the Movement for the Protection of People’s Rights MPPR on Friday, disclosed that slouchy statements from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Boss, Mr. Ola Olukoyede on the person of Yahaya Bello has continued to show that the chances of justice for the latter are very slim.

In a statement jointly signed by Comrade Musa Abdullahi, the Secretary General and Comrade Abiola Adegbite, Dir, Media & Publicity, the group warned the anti-graft agency boss to quit looking for ways to bring in Yahaya Bello via backdoor.

It read: “Since the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) in 2002, its activities have elicited both support and suspicion in the fight to tackle graft cases in Nigeria. Patriotic citizens from all walks of life have consistently stood by the EFCC in the difficult mandate given to it through an Act of the National Assembly.

“Going through the recent press statement issued by the EFCC in which it has accused an imaginary named former Governor and two ex- ministers of spearheading a planned protest against the Commission is not only baseless, absurd but also cowardly. The story credited to the EFCC giving credence to some faceless 259 civil society organisations under the aegis of nonexistent Coalition for Transparency is a disgrace carried too far in the anti- graft war in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“With the story credited to the EFCC, one would think that the Commission was deliberately fashioned for lies, gross mischief, and drain pipe purpose – a channel of deception and castration of Nigeria’s puberty. From all indications, the groups being celebrated by the EFCC are either the creation of the Commission or the agency cash and carry, non existent nor unregistered NGOs/ CSOs arrangement and hatchet jobbers with them on retainership basis. Not long ago, one of such beneficiaries wrote a petition to the National Judicial Council,( NJC) against a Judge handling the case between the EFCC and a former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Sadly, the author of the said petition to the NJC was once arrested and charged to court by the Nigeria Police for mischief, falsehood, and frivolous claims against a former Attorney-General of the Federation. What a shame and a coincidence for the EFCC- to be hobnobbing with such a disgruntled and malicious character parading himself as an activist.Has the EFCC forgotten the ethos of crime101 of profiling and carrying out due diligence of any of its friends before association?

“Rather than remain a vile witness of dishonour, false alarms, arbitrariness and politicization of the anti- graft war, we must posit that the era of fighting the anti-corruption war with disobedience to court orders, selective prosecution, intimidation, gestapo like arrests, defamation of character and blackmail are gone forever with the wind. The Commission should rather concentrate its energy on the investigation of N23 billion Kano- Maiduguri abandoned rail line contract, the CCTV contract scam awarded for Lagos and Abuja worth over USD100 million, monies in billions spent by NDDC, the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry’s mind boggling “N729 billion” fraud, among others and also during the COVID-19 lock down.

“Consequently, they also have an obligation to identify the Nigerian government officials who have been collecting bribes and perpetuating money laundering through Bitcoins platforms since 2016. But they all left these serious state matters in the coolers to go after a politically assumed enemy and a juggernaut who has become a rallying point for the youths in Nigeria and a formidable ally of Mr President. These are all in a bid, to please their monstrous paymasters and retain the office of the Chairman of the EFCC. How long will Olukayode be using unethical methods and gestapo like arrests and movements to persecute and hound Yahaya Bello in order to please his self-serving ambition and cohorts

“Nigeria is a country founded on constitutional democracy, anchored on the rule of law and due process. Therefore, we challenge the EFCC to disclose the identity of the ex-Governor and two former ministers spearheading the concocted protest against the EFCC, including the venue and time where the meeting took place. They must furnish Nigerians with details of the attendance list of the meeting and the money earmarked for the imaginary and phantom protest as alleged! How can the Commission stoop so low to embark on the dissemination of such hearsay, falsehood, orchestrated plots, red imaginary shadows, misrepresentation and innuendos without due process and the rule of law? The EFCC has become the accuser, prosecutor, and judge in its own case. What a misnomer?

“We must state categorically, to those who are either ignorant of the law establishing the agency or trying to display some affinity with the arrogance of the EFCC to note the motive behind the creation of the Commission wasn’t meant for the abuse of prosecutorial powers or usurp political authority. This presupposes that the Commission and its agents must act in accordance with the constitution and civil conduct in the discharge of their duties in consonance with the rule of law and civility in all its obligations to the citizenry, but the reverse is now the case under the present leadership.

“We wish to ask the EFCC some salient questions relevant to the handling of their case against Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello. Why are they shopping for a pliable judge to handle their persecution of Bello? Contrary to the standing operational procedure? Why did the Chairman place a call directly to Bello and want him to follow the back door if there is no hidden agenda? What was the motive behind the Chairman’s placement of direct call to Bello? Why was he interested in ushering him via the Chairman’s special entrance gate and exclusive door? A back door arrangement that Bello rejected outright till date has become his being hounded regrettably!

“This brings us to the shadow boxing placement of Bello on the watch list of Interpol. The apt description of the action of the EFCC in this regard can be described as ultravires, premeditated, teleguided, and an agenda for settling scores, having an axe to grind

“It is a big shame, ridiculous and embarrassing for obvious reasons, the EFCC is granting interviews and issuing statements in a clearer attempt to ambush and preempt judicial officers handling their case against Bello who are already in various courts of competent jurisdiction. What a shameless act by the agency!

“The EFCC must desist from further overheating the polity, from undemocratic and unconstitutional practices in the handling of this case and others. The era of plotting shenanigans and suffocating excuses in the fight against graft is over. Therefore, all cases before the courts must be allowed to be exhausted in full and the outcome decided. The anti-graft body must not be seen to probate and reprobate in a desperate bid to crucify any accused persons under investigation or prosecution under its watch. Actions of resorting to self-help, amounts to prejudicial and subjudicial, that are entrenchently intolerable in terms of both legal and moral compliance.

“Only an institution that has abandoned its core mandate would embark on a proxy war, name calling, and grandstanding. Blaming white witches and village people for their incompetence, lack of due diligence, and unprofessional conduct. Wasting taxpayers’ monies on wild goose chase that would lead Nigerians to no where, except the land of voodoo warriors insinuating about planned and sponsored protests against the EFCC

“For the umpteenth time, let us state that the placement of Bello on the watch list, which is already before the court, is mischievous, self-serving, arbitrarily obnoxious and devoid of fairness.
It is on this ground that we are urging the Chairman of the EFCC to resign from office forthwith due to his inability to discharge his mandate without fear, favour, and biases.

“Let us make it abundantly clear that natural justice is anchored in the will of Almighty God taught to mankind. The EFCC should always act with fear of God devoid of sentiments and preferential treatment of requesting suspects to see the Chief Prosecutor through his special backdoor. Nigerians are still waiting for explanation on other high suspects granted such merited or unmerited favours. The criteria used for the selection process and the fate of those who accepted and others who rejected such private gestures! The Nigerian people are interested in the overall outcome of what transpired during both day and night visits through the Chairman’s exclusive door!

“Finally, the desperate agenda to crucify Bello amounts to giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. The constant review of human regulations and laws is evidence of civility, as Edmund Burke aptly captures it plainly when he said, “Bad laws are worst sort of tyranny.”

“The EFCC has goofed once again and should explain to Nigerians the extant rule of the exclusive backdoor passage, which Yahaya Bello declined and rejected.

“We therefore call on the International Community, Donor Agencies and Partners to dispassionately read in between the lines in terms of the backdoor arrangement/exclusivity offered by the Chairman of EFCC to Bello and the glaring double – standards and inconsistencies in the handling of the anti-graft war as it relates to politically exposed persons in Nigeria!

“With the above, the Chairman of EFCC has no moral right to stay a day longer in office as the Chairman of the agency!”

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Lawmakers’/Stakeholders Support Creation of Anioma State , Senator Nwoko Reveals

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Senator representing Delta North, Ned Nwoko has revealed massive support from Delta, South East Senators and other stakeholders for the creation of Anioma state

 

He said the creation of the long sought Anioma State will correct perceived marginalisation of south east geo-political zone.

It will be recalled that a bill to create Anioma state had passed first reading in the Senate on July 2.

Speaking in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday, the sponsor of the bill, Nwoko said the bill seeks to alter provisions of 1999 Constitution (as amended) to create Anioma state.

Senator Nwoko said the south-east geopolitical zone currently has five states, unlike its counterparts, which have six each, except for the North- West, which has seven states.

Revealing that the creation of Anioma state has received wide support from major stakeholders, Nwoko said the two other senators from Delta state, Ede Dafinone (Delta Central and Joel-Onowakpo Thomas (Delta South) support the creation of the state. For me, that is a big support.

“I have gotten support from most of the senators from the south east as well and I know that I will get support from across the country.

“The Izu Anioma, which is the umbrella group of all Aniomas are saying we want it, the Ikpe Anioma says we want it.”

Nwoko dismissed report by a group alleging that he did not consult wildly before presenting the bill for creation of Anioma state for first reading.

He said the call for creation of Anioma state was timely and has to happen for various reasons, adding that the eventual creation will address years of concerns, challenges of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

“The most important one is that there is the urgent need to address the injustice, the years of crying of marginalisation by Ndigbo generally.

“It is a huge population in Nigeria, but they only have five states, and so, it will make six states of Ndigbo.

“It is a very long fight, for the quest for Anioma has taken 50 years from the time of Dennis Osadebe.

“There may not be many states created in Nigeria under this dispensation, but certainly, there is an urgent need to create one to address the imbalance.

“It is hoped that when it is done it will assuage the cries of the Igbos because since after the war there has been so many cries of been marginalised of injustice.

“So it is only equitable that it is done because it will deal with the crisis, the killings the violence, the seat at home issues among other issues.”

He said there was the need to bring a lasting solution to issues in the region. “We are looking at finding the solution to crisis, you don’t create a state for the fun of it, no, you create a state to address a particular issue of concern”.

He said Nigeria now has a president who is determined to right wrongs of the past, because it is important to do so and “the government want to solve the problem of the south east”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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