The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it has arrested a total of 144 traffic offenders for overloading passenger vehicles in a bid to mitigate the further spread of Coronavirus among commuters in public transport. FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement by the Corps’ Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem on Thursday. According to Oyeyemi, all categories of transporters should ensure full compliance with the provisions of Regulation 108 (1) of the National Road Traffic Regulation 2012 on the compulsory passenger manifest.
“The corps observes that despite the palpable spread of the virus, public transport operators continue to board passengers to full capacity without consideration to social distancing, passenger manifest and seat spacing of passengers. This unhealthy behaviour if not put to check on time has the potential to fuel the spread of the virus. 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 said.
He directed all public transport operators to apply necessary precautionary measures in their parks and terminals as failure to adhere strictly to this order would attract the necessary sanctions. Oyeyemi noted that putting down details of passengers on a manifest was a mandatory and acceptable practice all over the world. He said the document contained 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.
“The emphasis on the need for compulsory adherence to the NRTR 2012 provision is to make sure that the details of all passengers conveyed in each vehicle are adequately collected. This is to arrest the further spread of the virus perchance any of the passengers are tested positive even after the trip,” he added. He warned passengers to comply by filling the passenger manifest before their journey commences. He said that any transporter who violated the order would be made to face the wrath of the law when apprehended.
On overloading, Oyeyemi said 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. He added that Lagos State followed with a total of 17 arrests. He said that the essence of the enforcement was to maintain social distance amongst passengers in vehicles as a panacea to mitigating the spread of the deadly virus.
Oyeyemi ordered all public transporters to ensure full compliance with all precautionary measures to curb the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. He listed the directives to include sanitization of motor parks/terminals with emphasis on objects and areas that people frequently come in contact with such as rails, grab handles and seats.
The FRSC boss said that public transporters should provide handwashing points with running water, hand wash equipment, detergent and alcohol-based sanitisers. He said that transport operators should ensure reasonable social distance on seating arrangements for waiting passengers in their parks and terminals. Oyeyemi called for the provision of temperature readers to test all passengers before boarding and alcohol-based sanitisers in vehicles for the use of all occupants including drivers and conductors and passengers.