During an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, FRSC Lagos Sector Commander, Hyginus Omeje discussed measures that have been put in place to ensure safety during this festive period.
He also implored the public to ensure they possess valid driver’s license. He again talked about his intention on taking the sector to greater heights.
What is FRSC doing to ensure an accident free festive period?
With effect from December 19, 2014 to January 12, 2015, there is an initiative entitled, Operate Zero Tolerance for the yuletide. Both senior and junior officers would be available on roads for safety. The senior officers would supervise the junior officers. The FRSC is basically concerning itself with Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Badagry, Lagos-Epe and Lagos-Ikorodu expressways. Close to 30 patrol vehicles would be lined up on roads in Lagos. The headquarters provided three heavy duty trucks for effective and quick removal of broken down vehicles on major passage ways.
How effective have the strategy been?
It has worked for us in time past and has been effective. The presence of the FRSC personnel on the road would calm drivers. There has also been intensified enlightenment strategies, partnership with Nigerian Breweries Plc tagged, Don’t Drink and Drive and with Guinness for a 3-day public awareness campaign. The public address system was used and people were communicated to in languages they understand and can assimilate. There was a celebrity special marshal campaign to also sensitize citizens.
Would you say from your statistics that road users are more conscious of their safety now?
There may not be a true indication to a positive change. The issue is behavourial and issues that have to do with attitude are something you build over a period of time. High level compliance, especially the issue of seat belt.
Can you advise the public on how to drive safely during this period?
Within the period, I advice that anyone who is travelling should ensure that the vehicle is road worthy, so as to ensure the vehicle doesn’t breakdown, exposing one to accident and robbery risks. Ensure tyres are in good shape, possess extra tyres.
Again, do not overload the vehicle, maintain a considerable speed limit. Follow regular driving rules which includes usage of seat belt, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and last do not answer phone calls while driving.
When we narrow it to Lagos, are road users cooperating with your men?
Yes, they are! They tend to go violent, but it is normal because nobody wants to be apprehended. And mostly they want to justify themselves.
Where do you usually have issues?
Most issues are with people who try to justify themselves after being caught and they argue blindly and become very stubborn and aggressive. We are using this medium to advice the public to ensure they possess a valid driver’s license and beware of fraudsters who lay claim to assist with acquiring the license.
Nothing is being said about the deadline for the new number plate?
As soon as your vehicle license expires, during the process of renewal, the new number plate would be issued. A vehicle license would not be renewed with the old vehicle number plate.
How would you access the new Corps Marshall of FRSC?
He is doing great. He has always been part of the system since inception. The only pioneer member of FRSC of 1998 that is still standing, he is well grounded in the job and it gives him an edge over every other person in the system.
For you here in Lagos, how has it been?
Traffic challenge is not new in Nigeria, but I am equal to the task. I am familiar with the terrain and the psychology of a typical Lagosian. Most especially, God is giving us the grace to cope with these challenges.
Where are you taking the sector to?
It is my prayer to take the sector to greater heights, moving it forward from where it has been and to continue to be number one in sector command in Nigeria. I will settle for nothing less than the best.