…Calls for fresh initiative to change anomaly
…Says Bill before NASS to deal with errant drivers
By Chris Ochayi
The President, Court of Appeal Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, yesterday, disclosed that there were no stringent laws to punish road traffic offenders in the country.
Justice Dongban-Mensem, who made the remarks during the 9th annual road safety conference and FRSC/KRSD easy competition award 2020, held at ICT hall of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, headquarters in Abuja, regretted the absence of severe punishment accounted for reckless and dangerous driving often result in death or injury.
Justice Dongban-Mensem spoke at the event to mark the 10th memorial of the passing of her son, Prince Kwapda’as Rangna’an Samson Dongban, who was killed by unknown motorist in Jos, plateau State and in whose memory the Kwapda’as Road Safety Demand, KRSD Foundation was established.
She said, “We have set aside this day for annual conference to remember him and several others who have departed this world in similar circumstance and place at the front burner of public discourse the unabating road crash incidences in our country. “
According to her, “It’s my conviction that the penalties currently listed in our laws are no longer as stringent as they were when first enacted. On the contrary, the grievous acts of over speeding, reckless or dangerous driving often result in death or injury. It appears as though, drivers found guilty of road offences are given a proverbial slap on the wrist
“We shall continually embark on fresh initiatives so as to change this anomaly. Now, we are in the process of sponsoring a Bill in National Assembly. The Bill entitled ‘Proposal to the National Assembly for the amendment and addition of some Sections to the Federal Road Safety Commission Act 2007’.
“This amendment seeks to impose stringent penalties are meted to traffic offenders. This should ensure that errant drivers are effectively precluded from reckless behavior on our roads or otherwise adequately punished for it. The idea is to implore deterrence.”
The legal luminary stressed further that, “Also, we are reviewing the provisions on Third Party Motor Insurance Policy. In Nigeria, third party insurance is compulsory under the Motor Vehicle (Third Party) Insurance Act 1950.
“It is one of the six compulsory classes of insurance under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However, this policy stops at coercing motorists to buy the stickers. Motorists pay the annual premium of N5, 000 and it stops there.
“Actually, the policy is designed to make insurance companies pay compensation to road crash victims in form of restitution. It is meant to help the injured recover medical bills or relatives of the dead get compensations.
“However, we hear stories like Fake Insurance Companies collecting premiums, insurers adopting very frustratingly complex indemnity processes etc.
“Almost every vehicle on the road is covered with either Comprehensive or Third Party Motor Insurance policy. Yet victims of motor crashes hardly get compensated in Nigeria, thereby making the policy very unpopular in Nigeria.
“We would like to enlighten motorists and the general public on the benefits of the Third Party Motor Insurance Policy to ensure that the process of identification is seamless and transparent.
“We want to see a straightforward and fraud proof way of acquiring the insurance sticker. This has worked in a country like Uganda. It should work here also.
“I wish to remind us in ending my speech that the commitment to safer roads is for all Nigerians. The FRSC, Special Marshals and the Regular Marshals cannot do it alone.
“I urge all Nigerians to join us in making a personal commitment to Keep the Roads Safe by not drinking and driving, not over speed, wearing your seatbelts and helmets, observing the traffic rules and encouraging fellow drivers to obey traffic rules.
“That way, the loss of the lives of my son and all those who have passed, will never be in vain. Above all, I urge everyone to make a commitment to stop and save a road crash victim and please do not look away.”
On the KRSD Foundation, Justice Dongban-Mensem noted that, “In our nine years of existence as a foundation, we have performed credibly on a number of initiatives aimed at bringing sanity to the roads through education and active campaigns on road safety.
“With the slogan, ‘keep the road safe demand’, KRSD, the foundation has extensively advocated for road safety.
“This has been done through extensive sensitization through seminars, rallies, road walk and essay/quiz competitions among secondary school children and the general public.”