The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) yesterday inducted a new set of ‘Celebrity Special Marshals’ including Nollywood stars, Olu Jacobs, Ngozi Ezeonu, Hafiz Oyetoro (Saka), presenter of Focus Nigeria and AIT’s General Manager, Gbenga Aruleba; Editor of Sunday Telegraph, Juliet Bumah, as well as musician, Zakky Azzay.
The event, held at Renaissance Hotel in Ikeja GRA, Lagos, was tagged the Celebrity Special Marshals 1st Annual Lecture under the theme, Ember Months: Road Traffic Crash Myth Debunked.
Delivering the first in the annual lecture series, Corps Marshal of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, said: “There is nothing like bloodsucking demons looking to kill people during the ember months.
“If you have all four tyres as smooth as my cheeks and you overload the bus and use a plank to extend it and you maintain a speed limit of 140km/per hour in a temperature of 43 or 45 degrees on coal tar with worn out tyres and say “the Lord is my shepherd.” We are too religious in this part of the world, the Lord cannot be your shepherd in that, you are just deceiving yourself.”
Speaking further, he added: “We started the emotional psychology test not long ago and we have sent 5,000 people to the National Hospital, Abuja, Garki Hospital but many thought we wanted to run a business, that was why we didn’t use our own facility even though it is better equipped and I can tell you most of them failed.
How can somebody drive against traffic? How can someone beat traffic and endanger his life and that of other road users and you would consider yourself sane? Some people are not just normal.”
The FRSC boss identified the hosting of events like festivals, homecoming, reunions, marriages as reasons for a spike in commercial activities during the ember months, saying that commercial transport operators capitalise on this period to make several trips for increased profit.
He adduced different reasons like mechanical defects, environmental issues, road engineering defects as contributing to road crashes while describing human errors such as speeding, overloading, using phones while driving as some of myth enhancers.
Having been inaugurated in 2011 with 50 members, the Celebrity Special Marshals unit has grown over the years and now boasts of 120 members, all off whom the Corps Marshal wants to help in reducing road crashes through the power of advocacy and sensitisation of the public in their different professions.
With 201 mobile courts, however, he said the corps was poised for enforcement across the country more than ever. In her goodwill message, Dr. Joe-Okei Odumakin, described the theme of the lecture and new approach of the FRSC as apt and imperative.