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Federal Road Safety Corps: Our Road Angels

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GIVEN the appalling road etiquette of majority of our drivers and especially the appetite of average Nigerian driver for speed, we have to commend the combined efforts of our road safety corp members for saving Nigerians from a yearly harvest of unimaginable deaths on our roads. As a road user, my encounter with an average Nigerian driver is one of sadness, shock, grief, insensitivity, lack of proper judgment, rudeness toward pedestrians, murderous maneuvers, total disrespect for road signs, contempt for traffic lights and reckless speeding.

After the Brazilians and Italians, we should be in the third place of the shameful pole of countries with mad drivers.

Nigerians are always in a hurry. Drivers are always in a hurry. Well, the commercial drivers could be forgiven since time is money in their trade. Having said that, majority of the ‘danfo’ and ‘keke Maruwa’ drivers should be subjected to psychiatric test. They are like dangerous dogs let loose anytime of the day. They bark their horns with anger. They hardly indicate on the road. They stop arbitrarily to pick up passengers. They are terror to passengers. They can cause mayhem because of passengers’ ‘change’.

Through the arc of time, Nigerian passengers have been conditioned and turned into receivers of unremitting harassment from commercial drivers due to argument over ‘change’. It is always a tug of war between the owner of the ‘change’ and the holder of the ‘change’. That aside, there is nowhere in our cities where laughter, humour, love and friendship could be courted than in the confines of our ‘danfos’ and ‘keke Maruwa’. Other set of brainless drivers are the so called elites and educated drivers. These drivers look corporate: neat, clean, well coiffured, in suit, bespectacled and influential. They are educated illiterates on wheels.

These products of supposed sound education and good breeding are sometimes worse when on wheels. A dash of arrogance, class and stiff upper lips have drained out their humanity when on the roads. Their monstrous SUVs aka jeeps, gleaming saloon cars and road runners are meant to intimidate other road users and innocent pedestrians.

Symbols of travel like flags of US and UK in the car are not enough to assure a discerning pedestrians that such drivers would demonstrate civilized driving because of his or her travels.

Once they hit the road, they become infected with that ugly Nigerian disease for reckless and dangerous driving. Then imagine a planet of senseless, reckless and dangerous drivers without the able assistance and guidance of our road safety corp members. Imagine the lawlessness of our roads without our road angels to bring sanity into a situation that is totally insane?

I have driven along our popular Lagos-Ibadan expressway at the peak hours of both Friday nights and Monday mornings. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is Nigeria’s equivalent of German autobahn road without driving limit. Drivers on that expressway drive with such speed as to make one shudder in horror of what might happen if an accident happens. That explains why accident on that road is so brutally fatal that hardly anybody survives when it occurs.

On the same road are the rambling, reckless driving of Nigerian trailer drivers. They are demonized, feared and avoided like the devil. They constitute the highest fatalities on our expressways. Tanker drivers are like people on suicide mission with their loaded petrol that could explode at any slightest impact. Even though drivers of highly flammable tankers are aware of the hazard of their load, they oftentimes hug roads and intimidate other drivers. No doubt, that is the suicide side!

Nigerian road safety marshals have done tremendous work in cutting down senseless deaths on our roads and expressways. They have deployed raw training, experience, timely intervention, driver education and sensitization to stem down the murderous instincts of the average Nigerian driver. They have, to the best of their abilities, being adhering to the original founding tenets of the corps roadmap.

Founded in 1988 with the core mandate to prevent and minimize accidents on the highway; clearing obstruction on any part of the highway, educating drivers and motorists on proper driving on the highway, giving prompt attention and care to victims of accidents on the highway and determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles.

Compared to other agencies in charge of motoring, the corps member’s appetite for bribery and corruption is not as on-your-face. Majority of the corps members are educated, professional and dedicated. This is not to suggest that there are no loose cannons among the corps who prefer to live on the fringe and extort money from helpless drivers. Mr Boboye O Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, has always been at the forefront of ensuring that corps members live to the public expectations of total elimination of unnecessary accidents on our highways.

Since the inception of the road safety corps, driver awareness is now all encompassing.

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Drivers and passengers now wear seat belt. Fire extinguisher and other survival kits are now a must for commercial drivers. Having said that, we still have rogue commercial drivers who disobey the law and put the lives of innocent commuters at risk.

The starched brown khaki, burgundy top and sheriff hat have come to symbolize safety on our highways. The ba…ba…ba months, that is, Sept, Oct, Nov and December are regarded as ghoulish months for ghastly and incinerating accidents on most of our highways. The corps members’ presence on our highways is offering the necessary and timely intervention against suicide-driven drivers who are out to further reinforce the myth of ba…ba…ba…months as the most deadly among Nigerian motorists.

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08181497471

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