FRSC, Senate Committee controversy and the missing facts.


  Editor, The recent disagreement between the FRSC and Senate committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs regarding the purchase of an helicopter as recommended by Senate committee against FRSC's preference for ambulances and two vehicles calls for comprehensive analysis.   The fact is that all the items mentioned in the deliberation are very necessary for rescue or emergency operations but for resource constrains. In as much as I agree that the demands of the FRSC are more appropriate, it is wrong to say that an helicopter is unnecessary.  

  As an NGO safety operator, I confirm that in rescue operations, what is most important is the quick arrival of a medical team or availability of first aiders. Also, it is common knowledge that there is a wealth of medical evidence to suggest that a `golden hour' exists for casualties after a road crash and first aid is a proven cost-effective, safe and simple way to save lives in an emergency.   Unfortunately, both the Senate Committee and FRSC in addressing quick response to accident victims failed to deal with the issue of first aid and how first aid knowledge can be expanded amongst Nigerian road users.  

  For emphasis, in every road accident situation in Nigeria, it is not the FRSC that are first arrivals at the scene rather it is road users or people living in such communities. As such, for emergency rescue to be very effective, the FRSC should seek ways to train Nigerians on first aid or make it compulsory that every person seeking a driver's license should have a first aid certificate as done in most European countries. Indeed, the new driving license about being implemented by the FRSC is a fresh opportunity to include compulsory first aid training of drivers because knowledge of first aid can help the FRSC in its work and would save many preventable deaths due to late arrival of medical team.  

  Furthermore, it is worthy to state that the Senate committee has a major role to play on this issue. For the records, the FRSC is a signatory to Accra declaration 2007, which remains the most visible credible and concerted effort of African countries to develop unique strategies for reducing road traffic fatalities by half on or before 2015. Unfortunately, almost four years after the Accra declaration, the FRSC is yet to implement a most important aspect of the declaration as contained in item 45 of trauma section regarding a National First Aid policy which makes it compulsory for all drivers to have first aid knowledge and first aid boxes available in all vehicles. Thus, in the face of increased motorisation and continued delayed response of emergency services at road crash scenes, without the implementation of a National First Aid policy, deaths on the spot of road crashes will continue to increase especially with non participation of bystanders in community rescue efforts  

Given this disclosure on Accra declaration, the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs should avoid the unnecessary helicopter controversy rather it should exert political pressure on the FRSC to honour the commitment it made at the meeting of experts in Accra 2007.  

Kenneth Olebunne.  
President,   Youths go for safety Initiative.