Federal Road Safety Corps Personnel to Bear Arms Soon
An insider source has revealed that officers and men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC may start to carry arms in the nearest future according to the Guardian Newspaper.
According to the source, the Federal Road Safety Corps has built an armoury in Gwagwalada Abuja alongside weapon rooms in various central commands of the FRSC across the country.
“The FRSC has built its armoury in Gwagwalada Abuja, while there are weapon rooms in all the commands of the corps. We are waiting for government to gazette the approval and equip the armoury in line with the act that established the corps.
The essence of the ongoing training and workshop for the personnel is to prepare them on how to comport themselves while bearing arms on duty.” The source revealed.
Confirming the development, a spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps, Bisi Kazeem revealed that although the act establishing the traffic corps permits its personnel to bear arms, the organisation was waiting for the federal government to gazette the approval.
The Federal Road Safety Corps had been forced to release a statement in December of 2016 when reports surfaced in the public sphere that the corps had mandated its personnel to carry arms and had also started distribute same in all its command posts across the country.
That particular rumour had been fuelled by a complaint by Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi that 70 officers lost their lives to reckless motorists in 2016.
The Federal Road Safety Corps spokesperson said;
“Some irresponsible people took a statement by the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, out of context to suit their agenda. The Corps Marshal only stipulated that such a high number of loss could have been avoided, if FRSC personnel were carrying arms, as allowed by the law.”
He was however quick to add that there was no immediate plan on ground to implement the law that permits the officials to carry arms.
“It is unfortunate that some wicked people now took that to mean he said officials are now being armed; it is a figment of their imagination,” he said further.
Reacting to the news, a member of the Road Transport Workers Union Nnaemeka Nnadi, however thinks the action if true is a step taken too far by the Federal Road Safety Corps because it would put road users and drivers at risk.
“Some of the personnel do all sorts of thing while on duty. Some go the extra mile in using their official vehicle to block other vehicles on the highway. Is that not a dangerous and stupid act?
Some extort money from road users. Arming them will give them more courage and guts to dare people recklessly while on duty,” he complained.
A security expert, Ademola Ojeh, also dismissed the idea as unnecessary.
“I don’t know why government should arm FRSC personnel, when their job is not to arrest or kill criminals. Their work is more of civil than criminal. But be reminded that the law permits them to bear arms, that section of the act should be repealed.”
A Non-Governmental Organisation, ‘Safety Beyond Borders’ also opined that attacks on marshals was no justification to issue FRSC personnel arms.
A motion had been moved on the floor of the House of Representatives by Honorable Bulus Maren representing Plateau state in October of 2017 for FRSC personnel to bear arms for self protection.
In that motion, the lawmaker had expressed concern over violent attacks, harassment and intimidation of Federal Road Safety Corps personnel by highly placed individuals, motorists and hoodlums citing specific cases in Zamfara, Jigawa, Abia and Lagos State as particularly disturbing.
“Officers sometimes discover offensive weapons in vehicles during routine operations on highways but are incapable of challenging occupants of such vehicles, as they lack the capacity to protect themselves from any attack that may arise,” Maren had argued.
The House of Representatives had adopted the motion while mandating the committee on FRSC matters to investigate the various incidents involving officials of the Corps.