I know that the immediate and spontaneous reaction to this topic is a question that will sound like this: Is decapitation the cure to headache? Some readers, not those already discussing its scrapping would say whatever the perceived shortcomings of the FRSC might be, scrapping the agency cannot be the only option left in addressing such shortcomings.
It has been a painful conclusion for me as I put my thoughts down on paper regarding the fortunes of an agency that has had many persons claiming to be its father. I know that Dr Akinkoye popularly called Sir Koye wrote a copious paper that eventually got accepted and became the working paper for the establishment of the organization. Major Salawu also has his own version regarding the birth of the agency while late Dr tai Solarin’s tireless campaigns in the old Western region must also be given some credit for the factors leading to the birth of the agency which General David Medayese Jemibewon created as Governor of the old Western state. It was the establishment by President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida at the federal level that gave the agency its national image and geographical spread.
I have been compelled to write three articles on the Federal Road Safety Corps, and each of the articles was directed at exposing the many ills of the organization, and pleading each time that the organization must purge itself of such ills and reform itself. It does appear all the pleading had fallen on deaf ears.
There is no doubt that the founding fathers of the Road Safety Corps had laudable intentions. They had sought to reduce accidents on our roads by checking over-speeding, over-loading, and ensuring that rickety and unserviceable vehicles are taken off our roads.
And I must say that in the very beginning, the activities of the leadership and rank and file of the agency were geared towards achieving these objectives. Drivers of articulated vehicles that used to terrorize other road users were taught to behave and were even given lessons on road etiquette. Other drivers like cab drivers and other commercial vehicle drivers were brought under control and for years there was sanity on our highways.
All of a sudden, operatives of the Road Safety Corps thought that it was their God-given calling to start rivaling the Police, Customs, and occasionally soldiers who turned every spot on our roads to Toll gates. They began to see themselves as competitors in the nauseating game of extortion, bribe taking, and outright brigandage on our roads. They started sending fears down the spine of road users and occasionally creating panic that consequently send drivers crashing their vehicles.
Nowadays operatives of the Federal Road Safety corps have completely abandoned the reasons why they were sent to man our roads. They have now constituted themselves to Customs operatives, checking vehicle particulars and demanding proof of purchase and ownership from drivers/owners.
While they are busy with issues that are outside their brief, overloaded vehicles and rickety vehicles are turned blind eye to. Vehicles th