With just 24hrs to the October 1 deadline for the enforcement of the speed limiters on vehicles, EJIKE EJIKE and OMONU YAX-NELSON examine the necessity of the new technology introduced by the FRSC. The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, recently announced that enforcement of the speed limiters on commercial vehicles will commence…

FRSC-Boss-Boboye-Oyeyemi

With just 24hrs to the October 1 deadline for the enforcement of the speed limiters on vehicles, EJIKE EJIKE and OMONU YAX-NELSON examine the necessity of the new technology introduced by the FRSC.

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, recently announced that enforcement of the speed limiters on commercial vehicles will commence nationwide on October 1, 2016.

According to the head, media relations and strategy, FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, the Corps Marshal, commended all the stakeholders for endorsing the use of speed limiters, noting that without such support, it would have been difficult for the country to get to where enforcement date would no longer be controversial.

Oyeyemi, while speaking with stakeholders in Abuja, recalled that the initial date set for the commencement of the enforcement of the law was June 1, 2015, stating that the date had to be extended to allow for further consultations and more public enlightenment programmes. He noted that the period fell within the week that the present administration was inaugurated and hence, the change in date.

The FRSC boss added that when the Corps made presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari and suggested September 1, 2015 as the commencement date, the president extended the date to April 1, 2016.

However, in the process of commencing the enforcement of the date set by the president, a motion was passed on the floors of the two chambers of the National Assembly, suspending the enforcement pending when a public hearing was conducted by the House Committee on the FRSC to determine the desirability of the policy.

The Corps Marshal noted that with the house’s approval of the policy based on public acceptance during the public hearing and its consideration of the relevance of the device in the campaign against speed-related road carnage in the country, it unanimously lifted the suspension order upon which the president gave a new enforcement date of October 1.

He called on stakeholders to take the new date with all seriousness and ensure that their members, especially commercial operators, abide by the regulations by ensuring that their vehicles were installed with the devices before the commencement of enforcement to avoid sanctions.

Oyeyemi said, “The policy on the use of the speed limiters device was carefully enunciated based on the expert advice of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria; the National Automotive Design and Development Council as well as stakeholders’ support as a way of addressing the challenges of speed-related road carnage in the country.

“It is our hope that with the October 1 enforcement date approved by the president, relevant stakeholders would join hands to make the implementation successful.”

The FRSC head of media and strategy said “for the umpteenth time, we wish to reiterate that as follow up to prescription of minimum standard for the speed limiting device, the Corps organised series of stakeholders for prospective vendors in Abuja and Lagos, where it was resolved to set up a screening/technical committee comprising of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Federal Road Safety Corps to screen and ratify the vendors for the Speed Limiter.

Further to this, expression of Interest adverts were flagged in major newspapers including the Tenders’ Journal, in line with the Procurement Act. It is instructive to note that the said list of vendors was an outcome of the 2015 screening exercise and FRSC took further steps to place the same list on the public domain for public scrutiny.

“As usual, authorised service providers (vendors) only remain such as long as they meet the criteria as stated from the on-set. There was also a caveat to delist any vendor who is found wanting during the yearly recertification exercise of vendors. This measure is also effective due to a monitoring and evaluation system in place that receives feedback from the public.

It is pertinent to add that all the firms as screened by the members of the technical team, were checked and ratified based on the evidence presented as at the time of the screening. All the vendors presented Corporate Affairs Commission certificates and it was on that basis that they were attended to in the first place.

“On the allegation that some of the approved companies belonged to foreign firms, it might interest you to note that part of the criteria was not to discourage any foreign investors that showed interest to invest in the country in area of THE speed limiter as long as they meet Nigerian standards and are law abiding.”

This was informed by the fact that Nigeria is relatively new in this area and from all indications; it will take time to see many Nigerian investors in this specialised area of investment. We also encouraged firms with related business concerns to participate since we do not expect many Nigerian investors in the specialised area of speed limiter.”

Meanwhile, the speed limiter policy has continued to attract reactions from the public, especially, drivers, whose constituency, the policy directly affects.  “A veteran journalist, Soni Daniel, while reacting to the introduction of the device, said the policy was a first grade service under the direct supervision of the presidency via the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) with which it hopes to draw blood from poor Nigerian commercial drivers and smile to the bank with close to about N900 billion under the guise of installing a novel ‘speed limiter’ technology on all commercial vehicles

“The presidency officials appear to have been ‘tripped’ by the huge potentials and unrivalled benefits of the speed limiter which would see no fewer than 25 million commercial drivers coughing out N36,000 each to be able to install the ‘life-saving’ devices in their vehicles.”

“In the second phase, all vehicle owners in Nigeria, are to be taxed with a yet to be determined fee to clamp the same device on their vehicles in a bid to ensure safety on the road and bring Nigeria into the class of hi-tech nations on highway safety, according to the FRSC. The project is simple and no right-thinking person can resist the ‘essential and life-saving’ project, which, according to the commission, is overdue in Nigeria.”

The policy has not been without challenges as it is fraught with legal fireworks. An indication that Nigerians are not eager to go along with the FRSC in its current move to introduce speed limiter technology on their vehicles for many reasons. The commission made a fortune from Nigerians not long ago and showed no remorse for its greed.

It introduced two sets of plate numbers and exacted huge sums of money from motorists by force. Within two years, FRSC introduced a plate numbering system that made Nigerians to cough out between N7, 500.00 to N10, 000. 00 while that numbering style was about to stabilise, the commission changed the format and introduced a new set of fees and enforced it across board without looking back at the financial implications to the poor” Nigerians.

A human rights group -Registered Trustees of International Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Society, while expressing displeasure at the unilateral adoption of the speed limiter and imposition of an outrageous N36, 000.00 levy on motorists, sued the FRSC along with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) the National Automotive Council (NAC) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) as well as the Attorney General of the Federation to stop the action.

In the judgment delivered on April 7, 2016,after the group prayed the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Evo Chukwu to determine whether the FRSC has the right to apply speed limiting devices on motorists in Nigeria and to unilaterally appoint speed limiter vendors and impose the N36,000.00 mandatory fee per motorist, Justice Chukwu declared that though, the FRSC had the right to apply speed control devices in order to make the highway safer, it did not have the right to impose the huge fee of N36000 per motorist.

Part of the statement read that “So based on the forgoing, I am inclined to hold that the enforcement or the provision by the FRSC that speed limiter devices be installed in vehicles in Nigeria is within the purview of its powers.”

”What I must state here is that the Act establishing the FRSC never entitled them to limit the scope from where ordinary Nigerians can buy speed limiter nor did the Act allow them the monopoly to install an astronomical price of N36,000 on innocent Nigerians who are already groaning in abject poverty and I so hold.”

Other stakeholders, especially, the drivers have received this policy with mixed feelings. One thing that appears clear from the arguments of stakeholders is that, the policy could not have come at a better time than now, except for the amount involved.

Mr Olusegun Abiyoke, 39, a driver of 14 interstate bus said, the initiative will reduce the carnage on our road. However, the timing of the enforcement is inhuman, especially, against the backdrop of the on-going recession in the economy which has made life unbearable for the people.

Also speaking, Ikechukwu Ilochukwu, a mechanic at the Apo mechanic village said, the given the number of people that are dying every day from accident, no measure taken to reduce it would be too much. But right now, things are difficult. He advised the government, FRSC and all the relevant agencies involved to reduce the amount involved or postpone the enforcement, until the economy improves.

Mama Hussena, a garri seller, who lost her only son to accident said, government should go ahead with the enforcement of the speed limiter without delay, saying that no amount is too much for the safety of human life.

 

 

Source:Nigerian News from Leadership News