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Pulse Exclusive The day angry driver kicked FRSC official out of speeding car

The FRSC has been on the receiving end of bad press in recent times and Nigerians are taking laws into their hands.

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FRSC sacks 25 officials over alleged corruption play

Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, Corps Marshall, FRSC.

(guardian)

It all began when Facebook user, Von Ndukwe, shared details of a tragic accident in Enugu with his followers; complete with pictures.

"Saw this accident scene at the Ugwu Onyeama segment of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway earlier", Ndukwe wrote.

"The car in the ditch fell in there while trying to get away from a team of FRSC officials who were following him in a hot pursuit.

"Regrettably the officers abandoned the occupants to their own fate and fled the scene; though amazingly, the occupants survived without life threatening injuries.

"These are sad realities of what state our dear country is in, where citizens are law breakers and law enforcement agents are indiscipline. We shall overcome," Ndukwe concluded.

Car ends up in a ditch along the Enugu-Onitsha expressway play

Car ends up in a ditch along the Enugu-Onitsha expressway

(Von Ndukwe)

 

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has come in for plenty of flak in recent times.

The road safety agency has had its activities curtailed in Lagos by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; and a video showing a driver being assaulted by an FRSC personnel in Abuja, recently, immediately went viral.

Once regarded as one of the saner law enforcement agencies in the land, the FRSC has found itself spoken of in the same breath as a 'corrupt' police force and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO)--by an irate populace.

In an attempt at turning the media tide, FRSC boss, Boboye Oyeyemi had to warn Nigerians and other law enforcers  against killing and attacking his men.

According to Oyeyemi, the police shot at two FRSC officers who were on duty along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway on July 15.

“Many road users are abusing the civility of the unarmed personnel that are trained to be cautious while discharging their legitimate duties”, Oyeyemi flared.

play FRSC boss Oyeyemi (Premium Times)

 

“In the past, many FRSC operatives had been abducted, killed, assaulted, ran over, threatened and shot. It is also disheartening that some of the attackers misinformed the unsuspecting public by releasing manipulated information to gain public sympathy.

“Attempts are often made to make the aggressors look like the victims.

“Section 10 (4) of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 states categorically that members of the Corps shall have powers to arrest and prosecute persons reasonably suspected to have committed any traffic offence.

“Resistance based on ignorance of the law or impunity can no longer be grounds to attack operatives carrying out their lawful duties”, Oyeyemi warned.

ALSO READ: FRSC convicts 45 traffic offenders for overloading, more

While having its hands full with a slew of bad press concerning the activities of its men across the country, reports that the FRSC had chased a driver into a ditch along the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, was gaining currency as well.

All through last week, Pulse worked the phones as we sought to get to the root of the story and establish the facts surrounding the bizarre incident.

Did the FRSC really chase a driver into a ditch before abandoning him to his fate?

Bisi Kazeem, the FRSC Head of Media Relations play FRSC spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem (Punch)

 

Pulse spoke to two top ranking FRSC officials in Abuja who wasted little time making the cellphone number of the agency’s spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem, available.

The story was made up to make the FRSC look bad again, Mr. Kazeem hollered from the other end of the line.

“It’s just a ruse. The first person that broke that news, I personally went to his messenger...sent him a message to get in touch with me, to substantiate what he had said, but he never got back. We went to the hospital where he claimed that those people were taken to. We went there..they said the people that came there had been discharged. We couldn’t trace anyone. So, it’s unsubstantiated”, Kazeem told Pulse.

Pulse pressed Kazeem to relay the FRSC’s version of events.

According to the FRSC spokesperson, “the patrol team approached the driver while on patrol on 15 July for seat belt violation. The driver didn’t have his vehicle papers and driver’s license. The patrol team decided to impound his vehicle at FRSC base 9th mile unit command, Enugu.

“On their way to the command, instead of the driver heading to where he was being directed to, he sped off with the road marshal in the vehicle.

play Boboye Oyeyemi and his men (Punch)

 

“After the driver drove about 700 meters away from the command, he pushed the FRSC marshal out of his vehicle and continued his journey.

“Some minutes later, information came in from other motorists along 9th mile Enugu that the vehicle whose driver kicked out a marshal, had run into a ditch.

“The two occupants of the vehicle were taken to Benem hospital. No one died.

“The two victims of the crash, which included the driver, were discharged on Sunday morning. We have the phone number of one of them--Chukwunyere Ugochukwu and the phone number of the next of kin. Efforts to speak with him have failed as I speak with you--he’s not picking up his calls.

“The vehicle which fell in the ditch was the same vehicle that abducted and threw our marshal onto the road. We also know where the driver lives.

9th mile, Enugu play

9th mile, Enugu

(Wikimapia)

 

“The driver knew the offence he had committed by abducting an FRSC personnel. He must have realised the gravity of his offence, so he drove on suicidal speed.

“People believe that we jump into vehicles. No, we don’t. The only way we can successfully impound a vehicle is to attach a personnel to the vehicle enroute our office.

“What drivers do these days is that they drive away with the arresting FRSC official. A case in point is the recent incident that happened in Abuja involving one of our personnel where the driver ran away with the arresting officer”.

Kazeem also told Pulse that the driver who ran his car into a ditch would be prosecuted for making away with an FRSC official and hurling the personnel onto the road from a moving vehicle.

“Our marshal is even injured from the incident along the Enugu expressway”, Kazeem said.

“When this driver recovers, which is why we’ve been calling him on his mobile, we’ll now book him for obstructing the job of the FRSC”.

2 FRSC officers shot, hospitalised in Abia play FRSC marshals on duty (today)

 

Days before we spoke to the FRSC, Pulse had also reached out to Ndukwe--the Facebook user who broke the news of the incident.

Five days after Pulse left a message for Ndukwe on his Facebook messenger, we are yet to receive anything resembling a reply.

The FRSC had left Pulse the name of the hospital where the driver of the car that ended up in a ditch, had checked into. The hospital is called Benam.

Benam is located on 9th mile corner street, Enugu.

Two nurses at this health facility, took turns to speak to Pulse about the incident.

Queendaline was first to answer the phone and pleaded that we should call back in another 30 minutes.

When we did call back an hour later, another Nurse who identified herself as Josephine, wasted little time addressing our enquiries.

play FRSC officials in class (The Nation)

 

Josephine told Pulse that Chukwunyere Ugochukwu and another occupant of the car on the day, were admitted at the Benam hospital on July 15, like the FRSC had detailed.

“They were discharged the next day (July 16)”, Josephine said.

When Pulse pleaded for the cellphone number of Ugochukwu, Josephine demurred, saying that would be unprofessional of her and could cost her her job.

“No Sir, I’m not allowed to do that. This is the much I can give out for now”, she said politely.

However, Pulse was able to get the cellphone number of Ugochukwu from another source.

Three days after we rang his mobile and left him a text message, the driver of the car that ran into a ditch along the Enugu-Onitsha expressway on July 15, 2017, has refused to answer his calls.

Messages sent his way from our office, have also not been replied.

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