As the Ember months approach, when traffic is usually at its peak, the Federal Road Safety Corps , FRSC, has begun consultations with stakeholders on ways to ensure compliance with the minimum road safety standards among operators of heavy duty vehicles to reduce the cannage on the roads.
Meeting with the management teams of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Corps’ Marshal of the FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi enjoined the two agencies to ensure that their truck drivers meet the required safety standards.
According to Dr. Oyeyemi addressing the problem at the source will make enforcement easier.
He attributed seventy percent cases of crashes involving trucks in Lagos, in the last three months, to the fact that most of the trucks are too old.
The Corps Marshal who noted that the surge in the number of crashes was an evidence that the operators have not been complying with safety standards, urged both agencies to put in place safety measures by getting rid of aged trucks and ensuring that that all their drivers pass the safety test before engaging their services.
His first point of call was the NSC’s headquarters, Apapa, where he called on the council to collaborate with more stakeholders in creating awareness and capacity building for truck operators on minimum road stafety standards.
The Corps Marshal recalled that the FRSC and NSC have had a long lasting and robost relationship, which needed to be reinforced, especially with the change in leadership of the council, hence the visit, he said.
He pointed out that the corps’ recently, signed a memorandum of Understanding, MOU with the Nigerian Shippers Council, under the Road Transport Safety Standardization scheme, to collaborate and set standards for trucks operations, generate database, conduct public education and enlightenment, training and implementation of Vehicle Transit Areas scheme in the country.
“To facilitate the regulation and reformation of truck operations in Nigeria, the Corps Marshal and the Executive Secretary/CEO NSC during a courtesy visit held on 9 August , 2017 at RSHQ approved the review of the MOU signed in 2010.
“The reviewed was signed by both parties on Friday, 3, November 2017 at the Corps Marshal conference room Abuja.
The tenure of the MOU was extended from two to four years; this was to have ample time for adequate implementation of the terms of the MOU.
‘”The partnership with Nigerian Shippers’ Council over the years has yielded results in Road Traffic Administration hence the need for a sustained collaboration”.
Dr. Oyeyemi proceeded to the NPA headquarters, Marina where he also reminded the new Managing Director of the Authority, Mr. Mohammed Koko of the MOU between the two agencies in which they agreed on the first of March, 2018 as deadline for enforcement of the minimum safety standards and road worthiness for trucks plying the nation’s six major ports.
“The parties have earlier executed a memorandum of understanding in respect of which expired on the 21 May 2021 and the parties have agreed to renew same in accordance with the terms and conditions of the MOU.
“This MOU sets out the terms of reference and understanding between the NPA and FRSC in respect of collaborative efforts for enhancing the knowledge, safety, and Standardization certification parameters for vehicles belonging to both the authority and third parties involved in ports operations through training and adoption of guildlines in line with extant laws and regulations”.
While commending the authority for introducing the electronic call up as requirement for the trucks to access the ports, he said a lot were needed as the road to the promised Land was still very far.
“The Management of NPA on the 1 July mandated that all trucks must first be certified through minimum safety standard of the Safety Department before being eligible to apply for the electronic call up (ETO).
“Prior to the introduction of the ETO, trucks are not compelled to apply for the minimum safety standard certification and also visit the Truck Transit Park while they wait to gain entrance into the port. Hence,this led to a massive traffic gridlock along the access road to the port.
” Despite the implementation of the e-call up, it has been observed that trucks , most especially rickety, gain access to the port at night in order to evade e-call process.
“Collaborative effort at ensuring total compliance with minimum safety standards as encapsulation in RTSSS is yet to you the desired results due to trucks without speed limiting device being attended to by NPA officials, inability to provide the required stakeholders fleet operation data for full subscription to the RTSSS by NPA, among others”.
Responding, the new Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Emmanuel Jime lauded the Corps Marshal for his rare act of humility by taking the first step to visit, thereby renewing the relationship with his predecessor.
Mr. Jime assured that he would do everything possible to ensure full implementation of the MOU between the two agencies on traffic management with respect to cargo movements.
On his part, the Acting MD of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Koko said the Authority and FRSC have come a long way, and would continue working together in the good interest of the country.
Mr. Koko agreed that the MOU between the two agencies be renewed without delay having expired on the 21st of May this year.
In accordance with the minimum safety standards for trucks, all the affected vehicles must have functional speed limiting devices, container-laden trucks compulsorily latched before entering and leaving the ports while overloading is avoided.
Also, the vehicles are required to be sound with the lights and tyres working properly.