By Talatu Bala
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRCS) says 72 officers and men of its Kaduna Zonal Command were killed on duty by reckless and unruly drivers in 2018.
The FRSC Zonal Commanding Officer (ZCO), Mr. Abayomi Omiyale said this in Kaduna on Friday at a one-day retreat organized for FRSC commanding officers in the zone.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Kaduna Zonal Command of FRSC comprises Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa states.
Omiyale said that some of the officers were knocked down by reckless drivers, while others were attacked by disobedient motorists and some people for personal reasons or.
“Over the last one year, our patrol officers have been knocked down, some were attacked or even shot, leading to the death of 72 patrol officers in the zone. Our vehicles and properties were also vandalized,” he said.
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Besides, the ZCO said that a total of 717 accidents, involving 6,190 vehicles, were recorded during the period under review, representing a 5.8 percent reduction to the 725 accidents which were recorded in 2017.
He said that 687 persons died in the accidents, reflecting a 16 percent increase on the 583 deaths that were recorded in 2017.
He, however, said that the number of those injured reduced from 3,144 persons in 2017 to 3,047 persons in 2018, representing a 3.0 percent reduction.
NAN reports that a breakdown of the statistics indicates that Jigawa recorded 84 accidents with 69 deaths — the highest in the zone — Katsina State recorded 14 accidents, while the number of accidents in Kaduna State reduced from 24 in 2017 to 14 in 2018.
Omiyale particularly blamed the increasing number of deaths from road crashes in the zone on vehicles overloading, excessive speeding and reckless driving.
He said that the retreat would provide an opportunity for the zonal FRSC command to assess its performance in the outgoing year and highlight the perceptible challenges, with a view to addressing them and fashioning out the way forward for 2019.
“The retreat will also remind our patrol officers that we interface with the public during operations; we have to be civil and professional in carrying out our duty of ensuring sanity on our roads.
“We equally need to be cautious while on patrol; we should, however, look out for offenders who have a high tendency to become violent,” he added.
Omiyale reiterated the commitment of FRSC toward ensuring a drastic reduction in road accidents by enforcing strict compliance with the traffic rules and regulations.
Also speaking, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State commended FRSC for its tireless efforts to ensure sanity on the country’s highways.
The governor, who was represented by Mr. Yohana Waje, Director of Civil Engineering, Kaduna Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, pledged the state government’s support for the efforts of FRSC to promote road safety.