Speaking at the end of the meeting with members of the Management of the company, the Corps Marshal reiterated that government will be more vigilant in monitoring the activities of the drivers of the company to determine their compliance with the safety roadmap, saying that the meeting was called to brainstorm on the increasing rate of road traffic crashes involving the company’s vehicles.
According to Bisi Kazeem, Head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, in a press release, Oyeyemi said the FRSC has observed that Dangote Group operates one of the largest fleet of articulated vehicles in the country, pointing out that the activities of its drivers have become a source of concern to other road users, and efforts must be made to ensure that they are brought under strict control. He maintained that since the road remains the most favourable means of transportation in the country, necessary measures must be put in place to protect road users, noting that FRSC is particularly concerned with the level of impunity being displayed by some drivers of Dangote Industries Limited who operate without due consideration to the lives of other road users.
He indicated that many lives have been lost in several road traffic crashes they caused, while the nation equally suffers unquantifiable volume of economic losses from the crashes. “A situation where the drivers of the company would knock down a road user, abandon the vehicle and disappear into thin air is unacceptable to the FRSC,” he said.
Expressing anger at such a high level of impunity, Oyeyemi noted that even FRSC personnel who go on patrol and rescue operations are not exempted from the ugly practice of the company’s drivers, warning however, that as the lead agency for road safety management and administration in the country, FRSC will do all it can to put a stop to such carelessness. “This meeting is therefore, called to address the matter and for all stakeholders to discuss the way forward,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal who also frowned at the way some of the drivers of the company indulge in overloading, urged its Management to put in place necessary measures that could ensure that the ECOWAS protocol on axle load is not violated. He added that as the company with large number of fleet of vehicles, it should show good example to others by using reflective tapes on its vehicles to give them adequate illumination especially in the night.
In his remarks, the Special Assistant to the Chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Abdulrahman Yakassai while expressing the appreciation of the Chairman of Dangote Group to the FRSC for its commitment to road safety campaigns, apologised for his inability to personally attend the meeting. He noted that the company is as concerned with issues of road safety as the FRSC, stressing that in tackling the increasing rate of road traffic crashes involving its vehicles, Management of the company has taken various measures including training and retraining of the drivers and implementation of other safety measures drawn up by the team of experts on road safety.
Also contributing, the Director of Logistics of the company disclosed that Management has identified maintenance as one of the major causes of frequent breakdown of its vehicles, noting that whenever the drivers were faced with technical challenges, they normally resort to fixing up the issues by themselves, thereby tampering with some elements of the vehicles that aggravate the matter. He enumerated a number of actions being taken by Management of the company to include establishment of inspection team that would ensure prompt repair of broken down vehicles and incentives for crash-free drivers.
Among other resolutions reached at the meeting held at the FRSC National Headquarters Abuja were collaborative arrangement with the FRSC to remove broken down/crashed Dangote vehicles from the roads nationwide and comprehensive compliance with the use of approved retro-reflective tapes on Dangote vehicles in conformity with ECOWAS safety requirements.
“Dangote Group to sustain the current one hour refresher course and reward for drivers to sustain commitment to progressive reform on their general disposition,” the resolution stated.
The meeting further urged Dangote Group to embark on the installation of Mobile Weigh bridges at all its premises across the country to ensure compliance with ECOWAS loading regulations. “Dangote Group to expedite action on the control centres being established across the country to reduce careless driving,” it further stated.
The resolutions also urged Dangote Group to establish and operate a standard driving school for its truck and trailer drivers, while calling on the FRSC to encourage regular interactions between Commanding Officers and Dangote offices located within their jurisdictions for increased synergy and prompt resolution of some of the road safety matters to avoid further crashes.
Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; the National Security Adviser and Department of State Services.