The House of Representatives on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to facilitate the procurement of arms and ammunitions for operations of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
It said that bearing arms would help in protecting the commission’s personnel in the course of duty.
This followed a motion by Rep. Bulus Maren (Plateau-PDP) on the “need to curb incessant attacks on personnel of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).”
In the motion, Maren expressed concern over rampant violent attacks, harassment and intimidation of personnel and offices of FRSC by highly-placed individuals, motorists and hoodlums across the country.
He said that the development was particularly in Zamfara, Jigawa, Abia and Lagos State.
The lawmaker said that from 2015 to date, there had been 149 cases of attacks on personnel and 201 cases of damage to properties and equipment of the commission.
He pointed out that Section 19 of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 provided that one of the powers, authorities and privileges of the commission’s personnel was to bear arms.
According to him, the law stipulates that personnel of the commission, exposed to high risk in enforcement of the Act, shall have same powers, authorities and privileges, including power to bear arms, as granted to the Police.
The lawmaker said that the Federal Government had not provided the FRSC officers with arms to enable them protect themselves in the course of performing their duties in spite of the legal provision.
He expressed concern that the United Nation’s Declaration on Reduction of Road Accidents by 50 per cent by year 2020 may not be achieved by Nigeria if the attacks were not urgently curbed.
He said that in order to avoid the attacks, “Road Safety officers should stay off the roads, particularly at night, as motorists are taking advantage of the situation to breach traffic regulations, which often lead to accidents.”
Maren said “officers sometimes discover offensive weapons in vehicles during routine operations on highways but are incapable of challenging occupants of such vehicles as they lack capacity to protect themselves from any attack that could arise.”
Contributing to the motion, Rep. Edward Pwajok (Plateau-APC) said since it was an issue of law, it had to be obeyed, adding that the FRSC officers on legitimate duty needed to be protected.
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The house, therefore, mandated its Committee on Federal Road Safety Commission to investigate cases of attacks on personnel of the FRSC and report back findings within four weeks.