By Omeiza Ajayi
Some road users in the Federal Capital Territory FCT have appealed to traffic management personnel in the territory to return to their beats, following the growing traffic gridlock in the city due to their absence on the roads.
President, Road Users Development Network of Nigeria, Dr. John John Uket made the appeal during a one-day national dialogue on traffic management in Abuja.
Many operatives had abandoned their beats in consideration of their personal safety after hoodlums hijacked an otherwise peaceful #EndSARS protest.
Dr. Uket observed that the renewed severe traffic situation in Abuja and Lagos was “as a result of the absence of road traffic personnel from agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police Force, Department of Road Traffic Services (VIO), LASTMA and others who have left the roads unattended for the fear of attacks due to the recent wave of uprisings.”
While he condoled with families of deceased security operatives, Uket assured the officials of their safety in the line of duty.
He said: “We have taken into cognizance the need to reassure you of the public support that you have always enjoyed before the protest.
“In the spirit of nationhood and patriotism, we want to kindly appeal to you to let by-gone be by-gone and forge a new page in our nation’s history.
“For all the traffic officers who are still feeling hurt, we the road users, both motorists and commuters, say sorry for the actions of the hoodlums as we hope that such hoodlums will be brought to justice soon.”
He therefore condemned the burning of public facilities by the hoodlums, particularly mass transit buses and called for investigation into the matter, even as he advised the public to rather safeguard public facilities in their own interest.
Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Administration Traffic Management Team, Comrade Ikharo Attah, revealed that his team remained on their beats during the #EndSARS protest until it was highjacked by hoodlums, a development which forced the operatives to consider their own personal safety.
Ikharo bemoaned a situation where traffic personnel were attacked by hoodlums and a section of the public were cheering them on, instead of appealing to them to stop the act, adding that “the operatives are our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, and have families and so did not deserve to be attacked in that manner”.
“We want to be on the road and do our routine job. We don’t want to die. When people are stirred up against us, we get scared. The public should support us.”
Attah promised to report to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, on the appeal from road users for traffic officers to return to the roads because “We all want to get to our destinations on time but not to be held up in traffic for hours.”