Even as the exercise to impound all rickety vehicles plying Nigerian roads by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has started today, transporters and motorists operating in Osun State have kicked against the directive of the Corps Commander, Boboye Oyeyemi to its zonal and sector commanders.
The transporters who spoke with us stated that the road safety watchdog was not being sincere with the directive.
They revealed that the reason for the directive is questionable as the government has a bigger role to play in ensuring the prevention of accidents on the road and vehicles being in good working condition.
A transporter, Fatai Akeem, stated that the government through the road safety commission came out with the directive but has failed to put in place facilities that will aid in keeping vehicles in good working conditions.
“Our vehicles are good when we buy them newly even though most are fairly used. When they start plying the roads, we start encountering different problems.
“It is no secret that Nigeria has one of the worst road systems in the world. We practically drive our vehicles on stones, paths, and dirt roads. At times, a journey of an hour may last for four or five hours depending on how bad the roads are, yet the government is laying the blames at the feet of the transporters. Who is really to blame?”
For Aderemi Muftau, the government should be sued for wasting the lives of its members over the years.
In his words, “we have lost good members over the years due to the bad condition of our roads. When this happens, who mourns with us? Who takes care of the widows and children of our departed members? It is the transport unions that do that when they have the financial capability to do it.
“Most accidents that claim lives of our members are not because we drive carelessly, but it’s because the roads are bad and can’t be negotiated but because we have to survive, we have no choice but to use them. Sometimes, we are lucky to go and come, and sometimes, some of us go and don’t come back.”
He disclosed that when their members are involved in the accidents, it is the local branch of the transport unions that arranges for such member to be brought back.
Transporters from the Olaiya, Ayegbaju Stadium, Ota-Efun, Oke-Fia, Dada Estate, who engaged us maintained that despite the fact that their vehicles may be rickety, the engines still operate at optimal levels.
However, passengers who also bared their minds welcomed the development and noted that the rickety vehicles made traveling uncomfortable. But they called on the corps to pressurize the government to provide good roads that will improve the well-being of commercial vehicles.
Speaking on the development, the Osun Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mrs. Kudirat Ibrahim disclosed that the exercise is going to start today, and personnel of the corps would be posted to major roads where free safety checks would be conducted and rickety vehicles would be impounded especially those that are carrying passengers.
She explained that the exercise is not going to be for only commercial vehicles but will cut across all vehicles.
In her words, “you will know a rickety vehicle when you see one. They will be impounded, fines will be paid, and they will be released after payment and advised to have their vehicles fixed. We will also continue to monitor them.”
Continuing, she said that, “Roads don’t make vehicles bad. There is a need for maintenance and we lack that culture in Nigeria.
“Whether the roads are good or bad, as a car owner, there is a need for maintenance, servicing, and spare part changes. With this, the vehicles will be in good condition.
“They just want to maximize profit. They are making money from the transport business, but they don’t just want to maintain these vehicles. The Nigerian public should say no to that because it is a dangerous precedent.
“There is a need to talk to them. We are going around the various motor parks, radio, and television. Crashes occur basically due to driver’s fault and mechanical failure from lack of maintenance”, she added.