Mixed reactions have greeted the bill sponsored by a Member representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency of Oyo State in the House of Representatives, Akin Alabi, to prevent the operatives of Federal Road Safety Corps from bearing guns on official duties.
Alabi, the former chief executive officer of Nairabet, revealed on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, that the bill had scaled through the first reading on the floor of the House.
His tweet, however, has generated controversies as citizens poured out their comments for and against the gesture, with their reasons.
Recall that FRSC statutory functions are to make the highways safe for motorists and other road users, and also checking road worthiness of vehicles, recommending works and infrastructures to eliminate or minimize accidents of the roads. One of their tasks is also to educate motorists on the importance of road discipline.
While reacting to the bill, those who support the gesture argue that their functions do not align with carrying guns and other arms on the highways.
Here are the reactions below:
Ayotunde @ayotunde_ai tweeted, “Thank you, sir. Along with this, can the House of Representatives please task the Corps Marshal of the FRSC to come up with a digital and tech-inclined method of capturing and registering traffic offenders? They always want to do it crudely; they can be forced to work properly.”
In his reaction, El Padrino @witty_speak reacted in his tweet, “Well done!!! Our policing agencies should be demilitarised to a reasonable extent.”
“We just want to breed the next SARS,” Frank @frank_okeoma tweeted. “What it would have entailed is that they can shoot a driver who ignores being stopped by them (power of the gun). Thanks for representing the interest of sane Nigerians. In more civilized countries, you don’t engage unarmed civilians with guns. Teasers, batons are used. But this is Nigeria; security personnel can shoot at will.”
“Not all paramilitary are ought to be armed. Just like telling a probational officer to be armed because of the type of offenders they deal with. Everything isn’t by force, and their work ethics don’t include them running after armed criminals. They are to create a safer highway,” ShakiFirst_Son @haywhy1345.
M George @wemimog1 tweeted, “So FRSC needs firearms to check vehicle and driving licenses and rickety vehicles on our roads? What are they doing on the highway anyway? We have Police Highway Patrol who are well equipped to do the job. Very soon, VIO, KAI, Man ‘O’ War and LASTMA will also begin to bear firearms.”
In other reactions, those who supported FRSC personnel to carry guns also made their points citing increasing insecurity in the country. Their views on the bill make it a misplaced priority.
“I feel this is a misrepresentation of intent, to say the least,” Osita Jay @jayosinga said in his tweet. “It makes it sound like arming the FRSC is some malicious plot against the citizenry. Anyway, please equally ensure they are fitted with some other defensive tools because they too are citizens that deserve protecting. Defensive tools as referring to may include mace, teaser even a club; it mustn’t be a gun.”
Sakbio @Sakbio1 tweeted, “Sir, as much as I appreciate your representation in the House, but this is a misplaced priority. Get the data of the number of staff killed every month from them and also if you people are afraid of the abuse of staff, you can mandate them to have arms squad like NSCDC.”
Ismail @MuhdIsmaeel commented as, “With everything happening in Nigeria right now, we need more good guys with guns on the streets. I don’t understand the argument behind this bill.”
“FRSC encounters danger on highways every day,” Adeyemo Joseph @yemosview101 tweeted. “The other day, I saw statistics on how many of them die annually due to attack. Now we are saying they should not bear arms, especially in this era of insecurity.”
Saharareporters, New York