COVID-19: FRSC arrests 144 for overloading of passengers

• Orders compulsory use of passengers manifest

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has arrested a total of 144 offenders for overloading of vehicles with passengers during a special operation by the Corps to mitigate the spread of coronavirus amongst passengers.

The Corps has equally ordered all categories of transporters to ensure full compliance with the provisions of Regulation 108 (1) of the National Road Traffic Regulation 2012 on the compulsory passenger manifest.

Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, has also directed all public transport operators to imbibe necessary precautionary measures in their parks and terminals as failure to adhere strictly to this order would attract the necessary sanctions.

Corps Public Education Officer, Mr Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, on Thursday, in Abuja, quoted Oyeyemi as saying that despite the palpable spread of the virus, public transport operators continued to board passengers to full capacity without consideration to social distancing, passenger manifest and seat spacing of passengers.

The FRSC boss said this unhealthy behaviour if not put to check on time, has the potentials to fuel the spread of the virus.

He noted that all passengers travelling; not only during the epidemic regime but at all times, have the statutory obligation to write down their full information in the passenger manifest before the commencement of the trip.

He noted that putting down details of passengers on a manifest is a mandatory and acceptable practice all over the world, adding that the document contains basic information including contacts of next-of-kin of all the passengers travelling in the vehicle for ease of identification and contact in the case of any eventuality.

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He warned passengers to comply by filling the passenger manifest before their journey commences as any transporter who violates this order will be made to face the wrath of the law when apprehended.

On overloading, the Corps Public Education Officer stated that the figures of the arrests were drawn from 16 states with the highest number of arrests recorded in the Federal Capital Territory where a total of 52 overloaded vehicles were impounded while Lagos State followed suite with a total of 17 arrests.

He gave the list of states where more than 5 arrests were made as Plateau 14, Delta 13, Benue 9, Adamawa 6, and Katsina with a total of 6 arrests. While Nasarawa and Ogun State recorded 5 arrests each, Niger and Kwara recorded 4 each, Osun 3, Rivers and Akwa Ibom had 2 each with Zamfara and Enugu recording the lowest arrest of 1 per state.

It would be recalled that in the earlier caution on overloading of vehicles issued by the Corps, the spokesperson noted that the essence is to maintain social distance amongst passengers in vehicles as a panacea to mitigating the spread of the deadly virus.

He urged all public transporters to ensure full compliance with the key precautionary measures amidst the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Oyeyemi also directed that no passenger should be allowed to stand in all mass transit buses as well as no use of air conditioning system in all public transport vehicles.

“All public transport operators must strictly observe adequate spacing of passengers as crowding or overloading of vehicles will not be tolerated.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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