Every Nigerian driver and indeed most of the passengers know about the FRSC. Sadly, this is because many disobey the road and traffic rules. Therefore, it is not strange to hear people say “police is on the road o” as a warning to either use your seat belt or drive carefully. Many do not know the purpose, mission of the red coloured beret officers.
History of the FRSC (Federal Road Safety Corps)
Find out more in this post.
Meaning of FRSC
We must begin with the meaning of the abbreviation FRSC. This means the Federal Road Safety Corps. This is the government agency with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) was founded in 1988 and has its operations in all Nigerian states as well as the Federal Capital Territory. It also remains the leading agency in Nigeria on road safety administration and management. The functions of the agency include safety for road users as well as ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles, endorsement of works and infrastructures in a bid to eliminate or minimize accidents on the highways and educate motorists and the public on road rules and discipline.
The FRSC is currently headed by Boboye O Oyeyemi, MFR, mni, with the title of Corps Marshal, which is the highest rank in the Corps ranking system.
Prior to the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Commission in 1988, there was no concrete and sustained policy action to address the frequent chaotic situations on Nigerian roads. Earlier attempts in this regard were restricted to discrete and isolated trials by some states of the federation and individuals.
Noteworthy among the efforts to institute a formidable road safety program was that of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) between 1960 and 1965.
Also, the effort of the Nigerian Army in the training of its officers and men on road safety in the early 1970s also gave way to the consciousness of road safety in Nigeria: The First Public Road Safety Campaign was started in 1972 by the Nigerian Army, thus the annual Road Safety Week was initiated.
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) created in 1974 marked the first intentional policy on road safety in Nigeria by the then military government. The impact of the Commission was, however, not sustained.
In 1977, the Military Administration in Oyo State, Nigeria established the Oyo State Road Safety Corps which made some local significant improvements in road safety and road discipline in the state. This also was only till 1983, when it was dissolved by the federal government.
However, after consideration of the dangerous trend of road traffic accidents in Nigeria back then, the Nigerian government saw the urgent need to establish the present Federal Road Safety Corps. This was in 1988 so as to address the issue of road use and safety.
Establishment Act of the Federal Road Safety Corps
Due to the unpleasant trend in the nation’s road traffic system; a rise in road traffic accidents; the Federal Government initiate a search for a credible and effective response to the challenge.
The Federal Road Safety Commission was established in February 1988 via Decree No. 45 of 1988 as amended by Decree 35 of 1992. This was referred to in the statute books as the FRSC Act cap 141 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) and passed by the National Assembly as Federal Road Safety Corps (establishment) Act 2007
What are the Functions of the FRSC
The functions of the Commission generally relates to:
- Creating avenues for the safety of the highway for motorists and other road users.
- Endorsing works and devices which have been made to eliminate or minimize accidents on the highways and
- Acting as Consultation agency to the Federal and State Governments including the Federal Capital Territory Administration and other relevant governmental agencies on all issues that border on road equipment and use.
- Providing information to motorists and members of the public on the road rules, regulations and discipline.
In particular, the Commission is charged with responsibilities as follows:
- Preventing or minimizing accidents on the highway.
- Clearing obstructions on any part of the highways.
- Educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of the highways.
- Production and issuing of the driver’s license to be used by various categories of vehicle operators.
- Recommending, from time to time, the criteria to be satisfied by an applicant before being issued driver’s licence.
- Producing and issuing of vehicle number plates.
- Ensure conformity of road users to highway traffic codes.
- Giving urgent attention and care to victims of accidents.
- Embarking on adequate researches into causes of motor accidents, methods of prevention them and proper application of the result of such researches.
- Deciding on and enforcing speed limits for all levels of roads and vehicles
- Working with bodies, agencies or groups in road safety activities in order to prevent accidents on the highways.
- Making and enforcement of regulations in pursuance of any other functions assigned to the Corps by or under this Act of establishment.
- Governing the use of sirens, flashers and beacon lights on vehicles apart from ambulances and vehicles belonging to the Military and Paramilitary agencies of Nigeria;
- Providing immediate treatment via roadside and mobile clinics for accident victims free of charge.
- Restricting the use of mobile phones by motorists.
- Ensuring the use of seat belts and other safety devices.
- Regulating the use of motorcycles on the highways.
- Maintaining the validity period for drivers’ licences which shall be three years subject to renewal at the expiration of the validity period.
In exercising these functions, members of the Commission have the power to arrest and prosecute persons reasonably suspected of having committed any traffic offence.
Structural Organization of the FRSC
Decree 45 of 1988 provides for the establishment of Federal Road Safety Commission (the Governing Council) and Federal Road Safety Corps (the operational/enforcement Agency) for road traffic administration and road safety management in the country. The Commission is headed by the Chairman, while the Director of Organization and Chief Executive who is also a member of the Commission, heads and oversees the day to day administration of the Corps. This designation was changed to Corps Marshal and Chief Executive through Decree 35 of 1992. Federal Road Safety Corps had its first National Headquarters at Ibadan before moving to Gbagada, Lagos and then Abuja in 1992. (FRSC Official Website)