The Federal Road Safety Commission FRSC has on Monday refuted media reports claiming that the agency had begun distribution of arms to its officials.
PREMIUM TIMES reports that the commission alleged that the rumour was being circulated by mischievous elements looking to foment disorder in the society.
Bisi Kazeem, FRSC Head of Media Relations, said some “irresponsible” people took a recent statement of the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, out of context to suit their agenda, describing it as ‘a figment of their imagination.’
Earlier reports had it that Boboye Oyeyemi, while speaking in Abuja over the weekend, said the FRSC Establishment Act gives power to the corps to bear arms and that the Federal Government had earlier approved that, with about 5,000 personnel already undergoing training on firearms.
Mr. Kazeem clarified that the Corps Marshal, while lamenting the recent findings that 70 marshals lost their lives this year alone to some outlawed motorists stated that such a high number of losses could have been avoided if FRSC personnel were carrying arms as allowed by the law.
Though Oyeyemi had quickly added that there was no immediate plan to implement the law allowing officials to carry arms, Mr. Kazeem said it’s quite unfortunate that some wicked people now took that to mean that he said officials are now being armed.
Mr. Kazeem further admitted that though FRSC officials have been undergoing trainings on how to handle firearms, on regular intervals since 1992 when Ibrahim Babangida was in office, the commission has never put the exercise in general practice of operation and there are no plans of implementing it in the nearest future.
An amendment to the FRSC Act in 2007 granted the road traffic manager the power to bear arms like the police and other security agencies. But successive Corps Marshals of the commission did not prioritise its implementation.
Since the rumours have been making rounds, Nigerians have reacted with disdain on various social media platforms.