Determined to ensure safer highways, especially during the festive seasons, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), will from today commence a five-day nationwide special patrol tagged 'Operation Eid-el-Kabir .
This exercise, which is in line with the commission's 2013 strategic goals of reducing road crashes by 20 per cent and fatalities by 30 per cent at the end of the year, is also designed as a pro-active measure to check excesses in traffic so as to prevent road crashes and resultant losses in material and human resources.
According to the commission's Public Education Officer, Corps Commander, Jonas Agwu, the intensive special patrol is aimed at addressing the spate of avoidable road crashes usually associated with the surge of human and vehicular traffic across the country.
"It is an all inclusive exercise which will witness intensive patrols, prompt rescue services, strict enforcement of traffic rules and robust public enlightenment campaigns across the nation.
"Details of the objectives of this special exercise include the removal of obstructions from the highways, traffic control/decongestion, public enlightenment campaigns through the distribution of safety handbills and other forms of awareness campaign in addition to strict enforcement of road traffic regulation infractions such as use of cell phone while driving, overloading, dangerous driving/overtaking, speed limit violation, failure to move over violations and other road vices.
"Consequent upon this, the FRSC has embarked on massive deployment of personnel, patrol vehicles, motor bikes, tow trucks and ambulances along designated corridors and black spots within the northern axis such as Yangoji, Lokoja, Akwanga, Jos, Mokwa, Bida, Potiskum, Bauchi, Lafia, Makurdi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gombe and Kano in addition to the establishment of mobile courts at specific locations across the country for quick dispensation with road traffic offences," he said.
Speaking further on the Sallah special patrol, Agwu said the nationwide exercise "forms part of the commission's sustained efforts to build a consistent tradition of enforcing traffic rules and regulations throughout the year to avoid a one-off approach to road safety management in Nigeria."
He added that "the 2013 Sallah patrol signifies the intention of the commission to do all within its powers to ensure that zero road crash, injury and death are recorded throughout the period of the Ember season and yuletide."
According to Agwu: "Road traffic crashes are avoidable. Only compliance with best practices of road use will guaranty the safety of all road users."
He therefore warned motorists to ensure strict compliance with all traffic rules and regulations and proper maintenance of vehicles on the highways as there will be no waiver for any traffic violations.
He equally enjoined commuters to monitor their drivers and to employ subtle approach to call them (drivers) to order in the face of any form of reckless driving as any form of complacency may result to grave consequences.
In the same vein, the Kano State Command of the commission has disclosed that about 600 men of the command had been deployed to various parts of the state to monitor roads and highways to ensure safety of lives and properties during the sallah festival.
The command also warned parents against giving their children vehicles to drive during the festive period.
The state sector Commander of the Commission, Alhaji Muhammad Garba, told journalists in Kano yesterday that the command had mapped out strategies for an accident-free Sallah celebrations in the state.
Garba said two patrol vehicles would be deployed at Wudil on Kano to Maiduguri road, two at Nasarawa along Kano to Hadejia road, two at Dambatta for Kano to Daura road.
He added that one at Bichi for Kano to Katsina road, two would be deployed along Kabuga to Gwarzo road, while two others would be deployed along Kano to Zaria road for effective patrol.
According to him, about 12 vehicles would be used in patrolling roads and highways in the state, while there would also be foot patrol by men of the command
The sector commander said already, the command had set machinery in motion for enlightening commuters and motorist on what is expected of them during the festive period.
He added that men of the command had been deployed to various Eid Praying grounds to ensure smooth transportation of worshipers, calling for the support and cooperation of all in the task ahead.
Garba therefore appealed to motorists in the state to drive carefully.