ROAD SAFETY: The good days are gone

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Founded by an Act of the National Assembly in February 1988 the birth of the Federal Road Safety Commission became a nightmare to road users especially those who would never adhere to safety rules.
From seat belt, worn out tyres, over speeding, ‘the fear of the Commission was the beginning of wisdom.’
Offenders were forced back to their offices where refresher courses on driving rules were quickly delivered just as the drivers were booked to pay some amount into the coffers of the government.
Nigeria road users were already used to the police who could easily be tipped and journey continues. But in Road Safety, then, drivers met a brick wall.
The Road Safety personnel on the road didn’t give room for any such negotiation. Bribe was out of the question, and gradually our drivers were falling in line even though Nigerians predicted it was a matter of time.
And true to predictions, as the the days went by and years passed in quick succession the orientation, discipline gradually nose dived.
And before one could say Jack Robinson, Road Safety started to loose all that glory, honour and respect.
Fast forward to the present where the road blocks have become ubiquitous even within major towns which is outside their jurisdiction.
Money exchanges hands without negotiations; amount offered by driver have even dropped to the level of the police. (Apologies to the IG).
Today extortion by the Road Safety has become worrisome. Drivers plying between Umuahia and Aba, in Abia State, Ishiagu in Ebonyi state will tell you what they pass through.
It has turned to toll collection. They arrive at the express with their mobile court, which is meant for those who refuse to part with the N1000 daily contribution.
As one approaches the point, vehicles are lined up, parked by the roadside. The drivers trek to meet the collector, pay the N1000 before they are allowed to pass.
Looking back to the good old days one begins to wonder if the situation could be salvaged. Or are the good days truly part of history?

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