FRSC and the Irrationality of N30,000 Fine, the Way Forward, By Adedayo Ibrahim
Federal Road Safety Corps is the Government Agency with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria. Founded in 1988, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) operates in all Nigerian states as well as the Federal Capital Territory and is the leading agency in Nigeria on road safety administration and management. The statutory functions include: Making the highways safe for motorists and other road users as well as checking road worthiness of vehicles, recommending works and infrastructures to eliminate or minimize accidents on the highways and educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of road discipline on the highways.
Traffic offences are designed to ensure that drivers and car owners respect the right of other road users and make safety a priority at all times. However, despite the existence of traffic laws, some drivers flout these rules in complete disregard to the government agencies that established them.
Sometimes, these laws are flouted out of ignorance or from a place of taking the laws for granted. To ensure that such laws are protected, the government attaches penalties to them as a means of correcting erring drivers and road users.
For example, the penalty for disobeying Traffic Control Personnel, as a first offender is pegged at N20,000.00 while subsequent offence is charged N30,000.00 in Lagos.
Couple of months ago, I read an article of a man, who was driving without fire extinguisher, this man narrated how he was been extorted by the officer on duty that faithful day, after reading his article i thought to myself why all these extortions? Although my mind couldn’t provide any cogent answer to my rhetorical question, but don’t we have penalty for not having fire extinguisher in ones vehicle? behold we do.
Although having a fire extinguisher in your car is a safety precaution and if you are caught without one in your car, you will pay a fine of N30,000. A fire extinguisher is considered compulsory for all cars. But being extorted to comply is not yielding results? After paying N30,000.00 to the agency, that is, if the money get to the agency’s account.
My take is that we can fight traffic offences better of we provide immediate resolutions to those penalties. For example, the traffic officer can provide an extinguisher along with the fine, that way, the offended gets penalized and still gets an extinguisher in the process. Alternatively, the agency can make a collaboration with a company that sells this extinguisher in other to provide the fire extinguisher for the offender who pays the fine along with acquiring the extinguisher.
This way, we can avoid repetitive circles of traffic offences and opens room for extortion.
Adebayo Ibrahim, an intern at PR Nigeria Center, writes from Kano