By Jude Atupulazi
The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, has secured a collaboration with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) towards filing Civil Action against recalcitrant drivers and their employers whose bad road use culture results in road traffic injuries and fatalities.
This is in line with the concerted efforts already in place to ensure that victims of road crashes are duly compensated through established legal processes. The partnership was sealed during a working visit of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, to the President, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, last Monday.
During the visit, the Corps Marshal emphasized the need to end the current reign of impunity on the nation’s roads by ensuring that any driver whose actions or inactions caused loss of lives or injuries to other road users would be made to face the wrath of the law.
He beckoned on the president to play a proactive role by constituting a team of legal luminaries to help stem what he called the dangerous tide through filing of Civil Actions against such drivers and their employers.
The Corps Marshal also sought the assistance of the president in reshaping what he viewed as the erroneous position of some states Judiciary that the FRSC lacked the powers to operate on state roads, recalling that some High Courts in a number of states had given judgement to that effect against the Corps.
Responding to the Corps Marshal, the NBA President lauded the gesture and reaffirmed the readiness of the Nigeria Bar Association to partner with the Corps in that regard, noting that it was for the interest of the entire nation.
He assured the Corps Marshal that the 125 branches of the Association would be directed to key into the partnership and ensure a smooth handling of the cases as applicable.
Accordingly, he directed the immediate constitution of a committee saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the obligation of bringing justice to victims of road crashes.
The Committee which is to be headed by Mr O.A. Sule, SAN, has the Association’s Branch Chairmen of Suleja, Gwagwalada, Keffi, Bwari, Kwali and Abuja Municipal Area, as members.
Other members of the committee include the Corps Legal Adviser and select FRSC legal team.
On reshaping the said erroneous position of FRSC’s power to operate on state roads, the NBA President assured the Corps Marshal that he would liaise with the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chief Justice of the Federation, as well as all Heads of Courts, to ensure that the erroneous position was corrected, because, according to him, road traffic crashes did not have jurisdiction and could occur on all roads if not adequately prevented.
He equally granted the inclusion of FRSC lawyers in committees of the NBA.
It will be recalled that this is not the first time the Corps has extended partnership towards ensuring victims of crashes are duly compensated. The Corps, while prosecuting the driver who killed the former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Festus Iyayi, entered an agreement bound by a Memorandum of Understanding with the Falana Chambers to partner with the Corps in prosecuting the drivers and their employers.
Fides gathered that part of the reason for the visit to NBA headquarters was to leverage the national reach of the Association for swift prosecution and adequate compensation of victims.