The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Tuesday called for a framework that would empower the Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC) to prosecute VIPs who engaged in reckless driving.
Abubakar made the call in Abuja at the 6th FRSC Annual Lecture Series with the theme `State Road Traffic Management Efforts: the LASTMAS Experience’ .
“It is important for us to see how we can come up with a frame work where FRSC would be empowered to do certain things that are abnormal like arresting a big man who is driving dangerously.
“I have never seen a road safety official stopping a government convoy for dangerous driving; why is it so?
The Sultan, who was the Chairman of the occasion, also called on Nigerians to change their attitude to road usage.
He said that apart from using bad tyres, speeding and other things that caused road crashes, Nigerians also indulged in a lot of other human factors that caused road accidents.
“When addressing the VIPs, I think it’s important for us to caution our drivers, especially government convoys that drive anyhow because they feel the roads are theirs,” he said.
He also urged traditional rulers and religious leaders to also speak against road misuse so as to save people’s lives, adding that road safety was a shared responsibility.
In his address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, said the lecture which was first held in 2009 was aimed at creating public awareness on issues of road safety for positive attitudinal change.
Lawal said that this year’s theme was apt because the Buhari administration was committed to road safety issues and would explore international and domestic initiatives aimed at addressing challenges of human safety and security .
He said it was in line with this resolve that the president approved that all drivers of federal office holders should undergo specialised training to be organsied by the FRSC.
This, he said, was to improve the proficiency of convoy drivers and acquaint them with safety techniques to overcome the challenges they encountered in the line of duty.
The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, said 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries worldwide were being recorded annually as a result of road crashes.
Oyeyemi said that Africa had one of the greatest burdens in road crashes and fatality resulting to loss of about 3 per cent of GDP, adding that this undermined development and growth in Africa.
He said Nigeria had recorded 345,908 deaths from road crashes from independence to date, with human factor accounting for 82 per cent of the crashes.
The FRSC boss said bad road accounted for 5 per cent of the crashes, and bad vehicles were responsible for 13 per cent of the accidents.
He said the FRSC would continue to partner with states to set up their own traffic management agencies and integrate their systems into the FRSC platforms.