The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Friday inaugurated a special patrol team codenamed “Cobra Squad’ in the FCT, preparatory to the July 1 commencement of mental test on recalcitrant traffic law violators.
The move came a day before the planned nationwide enforcement of mental stability/psychological test on traffic offenders by the commission.
The test would focus on life threatening violations, such as use of phone while driving, route violation, traffic light violation, dangerous driving and overloading.
The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, inaugurated the squad, along with 10 equipped patrol motorcycles, five vans and an ambulance, dedicated to the exercise in the FCT.
He used the occasion to reiterate his warning against assault of FRSC personnel in the country, stressing that the commission would press for maximum punishment of culprits.
Oyeyemi said he would personally lead the FCT squad, adding that similar teams and logistics would be deployed at the zonal level before the end of July.
He explained that the special patrol would be outside the normal patrol activities of the commission in the FCT and other parts of the country.
He said “let me sound a note of warning to all road users; the Corps will not tolerate any form of assault on its personnel.
“With the support of the Federal Ministry of Justice, if need be, I will press for maximum punishment of culprits and ensure that I send them to jail.
“FRSC officials are law enforcement agents funded by the government to ensure the safety of Nigerians on the road, but road users, especially passengers, are fond of assaulting them.
“I will get them arrested and with the help of the Inspector-General of Police, criminal cases will be filed against them. It is not a threat; I have started that already,’’ he said.
The Corps Marshal said flashpoints of traffic violations in the territory would be effectively manned by FRSC officials and backed by ambulances.
Oyeyemi, who noted that his announcement of the mental stability test had been misinterpreted by a section of the public, said the commission would, however, remain focused in the discharge of its responsibilities.
“I have never said the issue of psychiatric test or any form. I am very focused on what I am doing; I will take them (offenders) to the appropriate hospital and they will run a mental and psychological evaluation to confirm they are fit for driving.
“Although this is one of the criteria before you obtain licence, I just want to reconfirm the mental and psychological state of offenders before appropriate sanctions are meted out on them.
“The issue of fine does not come in. We need a firm approach to this and the National Assembly has said it that we should improve on our enforcement.
“The Executive has also said it and we are getting the full backing of the Judiciary. So, this is a note of warning to reckless drivers.”
He said the commission must not allow few lawless drivers to endanger the lives of other road users, urging all hands to be on deck in the FRSC to restore sanity to the nation’s highways.
He also solicited the cooperation and support of the public, private and commercial drivers and other road users.