Still On The FRSC Report On The Ekiti 7

It is no longer news that medical doctors nationwide are currently mourning their fallen heroes who lost their lives on Sunday, 24/04/16, on their way to the just concluded ADM/AGM in Sokoto, but what is now news is that the officials of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) want to use the opportunity to advertise their speed limiting devices. Unfortunately, they were dealing with one of the most respected and brilliant professionals in the world.

Nigerians are surprised how the survivors have come out to openly refute the FRSC report concerning the cause of the fatal accident .My late father while admonishing us to be truthful at all times, told us that we could not deceive all the people at all times. Every day is for the thief but one day is for the owner, says an African adage.

The survivors of the accident raised important issues in their respective rebuttals. First, they stated that the officials of FRSC arrived more than forty minutes after the accident occurred hence five victims who could have been saved, had died before FRSC officials arrived at the scene. That showed that it is either FRSC officials did not know the meaning of Golden hour in Trauma management or they were not at their duty post at the time of the accident. Second, the officials who arrived at the scene albeit belatedly were oblivious of the happenings in the area and they were also ill-prepared for any emergency.

This is evidenced by the fact that they carried the victims to a hospital (Doka General Hospital) where nothing was in place to manage accident victims. That tells you that the FRSC officials were not conversant with their operational environment. Even tricycle riders and other road users know hospitals in their environments that are always functional in times of accidents.

The officials of the FRSC did not have enough fuel in their fuel tank .This singular act was enough for the head of the commission to honourably resign but in the characteristic Nigerian manner, they came out to hoodwink us that the cause of the accident was over speeding. Without fuel in their vehicle, how would they manage the road traffic emergencies they were trained to handle?

When one of the survivors accepted to buy fuel for them, they went in search of fuel but when they finally bought it the golden hour needed for the remaining two critically injured victims had passed. Thus, on getting to St Gerard hospital Kaduna, both victims were confirmed dead. The two victims could have survived had FRSC officials come prepared with enough fuel in their vehicle.

This last point is very important because I am aware that there is budgetary allocation for FRSC operations. The question is who feeds on the money meant for the fuelling of FRSC vehicles? My experience then as a student necessitated this question. In one of our clinical days, our consultant got annoyed with a prison official that normally brought prisoners to our clinic in the Teaching Hospital. What happened? Our consultant prescribed some drugs to the prisoner believing that her medical condition would improve in the next clinical visit. Surprisingly, the prisoner's condition deteriorated rather than being improved when she was brought for the next clinical appointment.

Our consultant, with his ingenuity, asked the prison official to leave the consulting room so that he could ask the prisoner some sensitive questions. It was then that the lady revealed to us that the prison officials neither bought nor gave her any of the previously prescribed drugs. As if that was not enough, they went further to instruct her not to reveal that to the doctor.

On hearing that, our consultant got infuriated and threatened the prison official that if by the next clinical visit the prisoner had not received her prescribed drugs he would personally take the matter up. He went further to warn the prison official that if peradventure he decided to stop bringing the lady to the clinic that he would also still take the matter up. As we were intent on knowing more, the consultant thereafter told us that he had relatives working with the Nigerian Prisons hence he knew what happened there. He went further to tell us the federal government's weekly budgets for each prisoner but these prisoners are fed with what was not palatable even to lower animals.

We ended up contributing money among ourselves to buy the drugs for her before she was taken away. In view of this, I ask again, who are the cabals managing the FRSC budgetary allocation for fuelling their vehicles? When Ocholi and some members of his family died, the FRSC officials told Nigerians the same thing. According to them, Ocholi and his family members died due to over speeding and tyre burst . Does it then mean that every accident that happens along the Abuja-Kaduna road is due to over speeding? Could it not also be as a result of the deplorable state of the road?

More worrisome is the fact that FRSC officials who arrived more than 40 minutes later, are the ones claiming to know more facts about the accident than the survivors and other eyewitnesses. I ask again, how can this be? Was it by the use of voodoo (which is not alien to our culture) or did the FRSC officials secretly install closed circuit televisions (CCTV) on our highways? I do not want to talk about the money the surviving doctors gave to both the police and the FRSC officials for performing the duties they are being paid for.

I got angrier when I read the FRSC report that said that over-speeding caused the tyre to burst. I asked if the fellow who issued that statement had any knowledge of Charles's law of gases,the principles of expansion of solids or even elementary physics. I assured myself that the report was a mockery of our federal character (as it is enshrined in S.14 (3), CFRN 1999 as amended).

Americans call theirs Affirmative Action but here in order to maintain the federal character, meritocracy gives way to mediocrity. So I would like to ask the FRSC official that issued that crap why over-speeding does not cause tyre burst at nights and how he managed to know more about the accident than the eyewitnesses. Or is it only in Nigeria where over speeding bursts tyres? Are there no relationship between tyre burst and pot holes on our roads?

Instead of telling their employers (the federal government) to fix our federal roads, they are busy finding a way to knock the head after the anus has farted. It was the same FRSC that told Nigerians that Ocholi's driver had no driving licence as if drivers undergo any special training before obtaining the licence. Even, the blind, the deaf and the aged can easily obtain driving licences in Nigeria. Many people have drivers’ licence which they use mainly as a means of identification and many of them already had it before even learning how to drive.

To me, Nigeria's driving licence is just for identification in banks and other places. How is a driving licence issued in Nigeria? Just pay your fees via online or in the bank, then go and book the day for the capturing of your biometric data and after that the licence is ready for you. What role would such a licence have played to make Ocholi's driver more responsible or even professional on the road? If it were in developed countries FRSC officials would be sweating to defend their incompetence and ineptitude in handling the case of the Ekiti State NMA delegates but here they are the ones on the offensive, attacking both the bereaved and the deceased with their fallacies.

It is like in Nigeria, there are few sentences one must learn in order to work in a particular institution. In the police force, one must learn to say, we are on top of the situation, even when one is as confused as other citizens out there. In the FRSC, one must learn to relate all road traffic accidents to over-speeding even if the state of the roads is so poor that a speed of more than 10km/h may not be possible. In the aviation industry, one must learn to say, Due to operational reasons, your flight is hereby delayed for so and so minutes. In this part of the world, people do things and get out of it. Just recently my flight, which was supposed to leave Abuja for Sokoto at 10:40am for me to join my colleagues for the 56th Annual Delegates Meeting, was delayed till 12noon. As if that was not enough, at 12 noon they announced that the flight would further be delayed till 2:00pm and in each of the announcements, they would add the phrase, due to operational reasons.

It was later that I gathered that the principal cause of the delay: passengers travelling from Abuja to Sokoto that day were few hence they swapped the initial big flight meant for us with a smaller one which led to the delay. Now, does it mean that in all those hours we were waiting the firm’s engineers were busy servicing the smaller flight which obviously was not meant to depart at that material time ab initio or were we made to wait for a flight to arrive from another destination?

These things and many more occur daily in my country and the perpetrators get away with them.They do not consider the welfare of their passengers or their schedules. To an ordinary citizen, the phrase due to operational reasons in our airport is for their safety but for people in the know, the airline operator used the phrase to work on our intelligence as the excuse was a mere charade. After all, the Igbo man said that lies are better told in English. FRSC should be very careful when dealing with some professionals if they still want to maintain their existence.

Just recently, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High court sitting in Lagos awarded a million naira in damages against FRSC and in favour of Barrister Tope Alabi whose car was confiscated by the commission. The judge went ahead to declare void the purported powers of FRSC to impose fines on motorists for traffic offences.

Believe you me, if such incident had happened to an ordinary Nigerian, he or she would pay the fine and hand everything over to God while the impunity continues but now this courageous lawyer said no. Now, the FRSC report on the cause of the accident for our fallen colleagues is being refuted by the surviving doctors. This was the type of FRSC report Nigerians would have accepted without raising an eyebrow. But that cannot happen in this case because the responsible and intelligent professionals are involved.

Before FRSC brought out that report, they should have known that a predator occasionally can be another animal's prey. At least, they should have kept quiet like the police who received some money from the survivors because no one could deceive all people at all times

Dr Paul John
Port Harcourt, Rivers state,08083658038,[email protected]

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Articles by Paul John