A resident of the FCT, Mr. Abdulrazak Yekini (L), a volunteer traffic controller Solomon Fenan (M), and FRSC commander in charge of Lokogoma district of Abuja, Mr. Iheme Akajiofor (R), during the presentation of a cheque and other items to Fenan in Abuja.

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

Today, across Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, movement between one location to another is steadily becoming a difficult task.Aside the unfinished construction of overhead link bridges and other road expansion projects, the large number of vehicles squabbling for available space on major highways in Abuja has also added to the problem.

As a result, controlling traffic in several parts of the Federal Capital Territory can be herculean for those saddled with the responsibility of doing so, but the need to support their efforts to maintain a steady flow of vehicular traffic around the city has attracted some volunteers who step in, especially at critical moments, to act as traffic control officials pro-bono.

28-year-old Solomon Fenan, who hails from Plateau state, is one of such volunteers in Abuja who offer their time, energy, money, skills and many other resources to help make commuting across the nation’s capital a pleasant experience.

Concerned by the worsening traffic situation in his locality which cause many commuters to lose manhours on the road daily, Solomon, since the year 2020, has devoted himself to controlling traffic flow in the Lokogoma district of Abuja under the sun and in the rain.

Asked what his motivation was, the youth said he is driven by the passion to leave a noble legacy of service to humanity through altruistic acts.

According to him, witnessing an avoidable auto crash which claimed the lives of three students in one of the states in the Southwest was the turning point which moved him to key into volunteerism on the roads.

“There was a time that I was traveling through Akure in Ondo state, around Sijuade junction, I witnessed an accident on the road that involved three male students.

“I took the opportunity to volunteer my services to my services both in taking the victims to the hospital and to help clear the traffic gridlock that had built up, because of the unfortunate incident.

“So, since then, I vowed to become a volunteer road traffic personnel to help prevent a repeat of that ugly incident,” the Langtang-born Solomon told Saturday Vanguard.

He, however, said that from his personal experiences as a citizen who is committed to maintaining a steady flow of traffic in the nation’s capital, one of the prime reasons for the mounting road crashes and traffic gridlocks in the FCT include the flouting of traffic laws and indiscriminate parking of vehicles on busy roads, failing road infrastructure amongst other factors.

Solomon explained that though coping with the economic hardships while rendering pro-bono services every day on the road has not been easy, nonetheless, the joy of making a specific contribution by generating well-being for other people (commuters) was satisfying to him in ways that cannot be fully expressed in words.

“It’s all about making our country a better place for all of us to live by doing the little we can to make things easier for one another,” he enthused. 

But some good-spirited residents of the FCT, who fear that the depressive economic outlook of the nation could force Solomon and other citizens like him to jettison selflessness for self-aggrandisement, have taken it upon themselves to make donations to support such volunteers whenever they find a genuine one.

One of such residents of Abuja is Mr. Abdulrazak Yekini, who has acknowledged Solomon’s efforts at ensuring smooth flow of traffic in the Lokogoma axis of the FCT, and has donated items such as reflective jackets, hand gloves, cash and a promise to place him on a monthly stipend to aid his services.

Speaking about his reason for the gesture, Yekini told Saturday Vanguard: “He (Solomon) must have bills to pay, because he lives like every other person you see around.

“Moreover, coming here from morning till evening means that he doesn’t have any other means of sustaining himself.

“So, I think we can shoulder the responsibility of giving him something (stipends) regularly, it might not be enough (to meet all his needs), but it can encourage him to keep doing the good work he is doing,” he said.

Meanwhile, no one can question the wisdom in supporting people like Solomon who sacrifice their personal comfort to help maintain some level of sanity on the roads.

Data from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) indicate that deaths on Nigerian roads due to disobedience to traffic laws and over speeding per 100,000 was 9.0 in 1990; but over the next 15 years, it reduced to 3.62.

Whereas a total number of 8,154 persons were killed on Nigerian roads in 1990, the annual fatalities had also reduced to 5,044 by 2015.

But perhaps, more noteworthy is the fact that Nigeria’s capital city ranks among the top five states with the highest cases of traffic offences and fatalities. Other states on the list are Kaduna, Ogun, Kogi, Oyo, and Nasarawa.

For this reason, the authorities have also not failed to acknowledge and laud the efforts of ordinary citizens like Solomon Fenan, who have given themselves over to ensuring safety on the roads.

Commending the youth for spending his time, energy, talent, and resources to complement the efforts of the FRSC in his locality, the corps commander in charge of Lokogoma district, Mr. Iheme Akajiofor, explained that investigation by the FRSC on the young man’s activities on the road have not only proven him to be genuinely altruistic, but also excellent in the execution of his voluntary services.

He said, “When I came in (Corps Commander in Lokogoma), I saw this guy (Solomon) controlling traffic here. “So, when I made inquiries, I was told he has been here for over two years, and he has been so active. Most of the time, we (FRSC officers) cheer him up to do the work he is doing.”

While Solomon Fenan is considered in many quarters as a shining light among the youths because of his selflessness, some public affairs analysts are worried that the culture of volunteerism is vanishing in Nigeria, and the reasons are not far-fetched. One of them is that the economic meltdown has incapacitated many people from offering voluntary services.

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