Nnenna Ibeh

The Federal Road Safety Corps has suggested that government at local levels take responsibility and provide modern parks for commercial drivers in their locality.Dangote-truck

Speaking to journalists on Friday, the FRSC corps marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, said, “The local government is a critical factor, it is the responsibility of the local governments to provide parks as per the constitution, the 774 LG authorities must be ready; it is another source of revenue for them.”

He added that the councils “must provide modern parks and if they cannot fund it, they can go on Public Private Partnership arrangement to provide parks where the tanker, trailers and other vehicle can park and rest for a while.”

Mr. Oyeyemi had in the past week said that tanker drivers will be subjected to a 30 minutes rest after each four-hour driving session in order to help reduce fatigue, a factor in most tanker crashes in Nigeria.

The corps marshal said that implementation of new plates for commercial drivers will commence soon in line with an agreement between major stakeholders in the industry during a just concluded national summit.

“The implementations is commencing. One of the critical issue is the retraining of all the NUPENG drivers. We have commenced the implementation of the new number plates for NUPENG and we had a meeting few days ago where we introduced the plates to all the states and from July 1, the new plates will be administered by the states,” he said.
The new plates he said will give a unique identity for all the tanker trucks and trailer vehicles for easy identification. The process, he said, is no different from that for the commercial vehicle drivers – done at no extra cost.

The corps marshal added that the FRSC has observed that 35 per cent of the tankers used are old and most of the users say they cannot afford the cost of new ones. Mr. Oyeyemi said in view of this, a proposal is being developed to engage the government for assistance
“A new tanker costs about N30 million, the head alone is N21 million and the body about N7 million plus the registration and insurance. So they need government.

“We are going to work with Vehicle Inspection Officers to ensure strict compliance to the vehicle inspection. We are working already with them and they are fine tuning the drivers retraining programme,” he said.

Mr. Oyeyemi said the FRSC will re-train all NUPENG drivers as well as set up four specialized driver’s license centres – in Suleja, Kaduna, Warri and Lagos – for the commercial NUPENG drivers.

He said the process to obtain a commercial driver’s license includes a full medical check-up including a psychiatric test. He said that at the end of the process, the corps will have the specific number and details of tanker drivers in Nigeria.

“I want to tell the nation that within the next few months, we are going to see a kind of change; and we are also working from the resolution in Sokoto, we are targeting zero crash and I believe it is workable. We have resolved now that the drivers subject themselves to checks at the designated places,” he said.

Mr. Oyeyemi said there will be a joint task force consisting of officials of the FRSC, NUPENG, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Vehicle Inspection Officers, among others, to ensure compliance with its directive.

The corps marshal said any tanker not installed with the speed limiting device by September 1 will not be allowed to load at any of the depots.

“We believe once you can control the menace of the tanker drivers, the rest is simple. We want to assure Nigerians that this kind of carnage we experienced in the first week of July will never occur again; and by the end of the year, the nation will be proud that we have civilized drivers,” he added.

He said the corps have already engaged some state governments including Edo, Sokoto and Enugu states to increase the capacity of the VIOs in their various states and also get involved in their training.

“We are doing this so that the urban traffic system can be handled by the states while we focus more on the interstate roads – the federal road.

“I believe at the end of the day all we are geared towards is ensuring safe motoring, safe culture; for us to have an enduring road safe culture in Nigeria and we need the support of all Nigerians to achieve this,” the corps marshal said.

“Sometime when we have rallies, we find out that most of these drivers have high blood pressure and we refer them to specialists; the issue is that we need to drive to save lives. If the driver is not medically fit and he is on the road, it is a danger,” he said.

Mr. Oyeyemi said drivers who have issues with vision especially those unable to see well at night will not be allowed to drive, while those who need corrective glasses should get one.

He said the trainings, expected to commence in two weeks, will hold in different languages and will inculcate the will and good driving culture.

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