The Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, has identified impunity as one of the major habits responsible for the chaos on the highways, stating that as human beings, drivers must show consideration to other road users.
The Sultan stated this while receiving the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, and the National Chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) division of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural GAS Workers (NUPENG), Salimon Oladiti, who were on a courtesy visit to his Palace in Sokoto.
Mr. Abubakar described rampart cases of petroleum tanker crashes in the country, especially in the last few weeks as “worrisome,” admonishing drivers to always obey traffic rules and regulations, instead of operating with impunity. He further stated that for stability to rein in any society, the people must be prepared to obey law, adding that no one should operate as if above the law of the land.
“No one should be above the law,” he stated.
“People must learn to respect law, and violators must be punished accordingly. That is the only way to ensure stability on the road and security in the society generally,” he further stated.
Mr. Saad described the collaboration between the FRSC and PTD as well as other transport unions as a positive development, stressing that such partnership could enhance effective traffic management and orderliness on the road. He, however, frowned at the practice of blocking the road by some tanker drivers who engage in the act at the slightest provocation, noting that every grievance could be settled amicably, if there is trust and understanding between the law enforcement agents and the drivers.
He further advocated defensive driving technique as a way of resolving some of the chaos noticed on the highways, saying that if every driver sees only himself as the same person on the road and considers others as mad people, there would be orderliness on the road. Sultan Saad called for understanding between law enforcers and drivers, and appealed for restraint while dealing with the drivers as some of drivers may be operating under tensed conditions.
“When there is trust and understanding between the law enforcers and drivers, orderliness can easily be restored on the road. That is why I support this collaboration between the FRSC and PTD. The partnership provides opportunity for interaction and mutual resolution of conflicts for safety, security and stability of the society,” the Sultan further stated.
Earlier, the Corps Marshal briefed the Sultan on the traffic situations in the country, particularly the perennial crashes involving petroleum tankers, which claimed about 60 lives in the last two weeks. He stressed that the FRSC was conscious of the challenging nature of the year, and therefore embarked on early consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders on how to make the year crash free right from the beginning of the year. He further explained that the consultations were on when the first crash occurred in Onitsha, Anambra state.
According to him, with the huge lose recorded in the crash, he immediately called a meeting of the leadership of petroleum tanker drivers union and other relevant stakeholders where some resolutions on how to avert re-occurrence were taken, noting, however, that with the incidents at Idimu and Iyana Ipaja in Lagos State, he had to further organise a national summit on haulage operations where a plan of action was drawn by the stakeholders for implementation.
“At the summit, all the relevant stakeholders were in attendance, and the representative of the Governor of Lagos state was equally present, because we consider Lagos as a strategic partner in the campaign, being the host to most of the petroleum tank farms in the country.
“Members of the executive of PTD are having their National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting here in Sokoto, and due to the importance we attach to their role in the campaign, I have to travel down to participate in the programme. That is why I am here with the National Chairman,” Mr. Oyeyemi stated.
In his own remarks, the PTD Chairman thanked the Sultan for the audience given to them, stating that it was a demonstration of the love he has for the people and road users in particular. Mr. Salimon further stressed that with the new awakening in the membership of the union, coupled with the ongoing collaboration with the FRSC and other security agencies, tanker crashes in the country would soon be a thing of the past.
The Corps Marshal and PTD National Chairman were accompanied on the visit by some principal officers of the FRSC and members of the executive of PTD.