By Augustine Ehikioya
With few days to 2023 Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has deployed its entire workforce, including Special Marshals to the highways to ensure hitch free movement as commuters travel from one destination to another across the nation.
The move is part of efforts to combat traffic gridlock, and eliminate road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities during this end of the year.
A statement by the Deputy Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps Headquarters, Bisi Kazeem, disclosed this on Monday. It was made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA).
It said “The Corps manifested this through effective and efficient distribution of logistics and operational materials like radar guns to check speed violations, setting out 16 traffic control camps on different routes, as well as man 53 critical routes nationwide.
“The Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu who authorized the deployment also directed Commanding Officers to ensure 24 hours observatory along high volume traffic/gridlock prone areas, full mobilization of 26 Help Areas, adequate utilisation of 59 Emergency Ambulance (Zebra) Points, full mobilization of Road Side (RTC) Clinics, and 24/7 broadcast on National Traffic Radio 107.1 FM.”
The 2023 Operation Zero Tolerance, the statement said, commenced on December 15, 2023 and to span through to Jan 15, 2024.
It added “The operation which is programmed to run in shifts as follows 0600hrs – 1400hrs, 1400HRS – 2000hrs, 2000hrs – 2200hrs, and Night Rescue teams on standby at all operational Commands is billed to cover the following critical corridors; Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Birnin Kebbi corridor, Katsina-Kano-Wudil-Dutse-Azare-Potiskum corridor, Kaduna-Saminaka-Jos corridor, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano corridor.
It’s also to cover “Okene-Ogori-Isua-Owo corridor, Makurdi-Otukpo-Obollo Afor-9th Mile corridor, Asaba-Abraka-Ughelli-Warri corridor, Ibadan-Ogere-Sagamu corridor, Sagamu-Mowe-Lagos corridor, amongst others.”
Explaining some of the reasons for year 2023’s holistic approach to safer roads, the Corps Marshal said that the Corps has observed that a key characteristics of the period over the years is an upsurge in traffic volume, excessive speed, overloading of vehicles with good, animals and persons, impatience by motorists who may not have adequately planned their journeys, or motorists managing mechanically deficient vehicles to and fro their travel destinations.
According to him, the above mentioned are known to be the major causes of chaos and indiscipline among all classes of road users, leading to crashes, fatalities, loss of properties as well as traffic congestion/gridlocks.
The operation which is themed; ‘Speed Thrills, But Kills: Drive Responsibly and Avoid Overloading’ will cover the broad areas of “traffic control/decongestion, Public enlightenment, Enforcement, prompt response to crash victims, route lining among others.”
Dauda Biu stressed that the enforcement is aimed at checkmating Excessive Speed, Overloading, Dangerous Driving/Overtaking, Lane Indiscipline/Route Violation, Road Obstructions, Use of Phone while Driving, Overloading Violation, Seatbelt/Child Restraint Use Violations, Passengers’ Manifest Violations, Mechanically Deficient Vehicles, Latching and Twist-Locks Violation, and massive constitution of Mobile Courts across the Nation.
The directive also mandated the Corps’ Operatives to ensure effective collaboration with Military Units, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Directorate of State Services (DSS), NGO Ambulance Service Providers, National Network on Emergency Road Services (NNERS) and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
The Corps Marshal also stated that the operatives will be “charged with the responsibility of identifying alternative routes to assist motorists during gridlocks, and give notification of traffic distressed areas for intervention.”
As such, he called on the motoring public to utilize all FRSC social media handles (facebook.com//frscnigeria,Instagram.com//frscnigeria, twitter.com//frscnigeria, for necessary updates and in case of emergency, call the 122 toll free number and the National Traffic Radio live lines: 08052998090, 09067000015, and 08052998012 which are available means to reach FRSC to report Traffic situations anywhere in the Country.
“The public can as well reach the situation room on 07054005754 and 07054005712 respectively,” it stated.