By Abiodun Taiwo, Abeokuta.
Concerned by the alarming rate at which commercial drivers and motorcycle riders violate traffic rules and regulations across the State, the Ogun State House of Assembly has canvassed for stringent penalties against traffic offenders so as to promote safety on roads.
The Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, Hon. Israel Jolaoso, who said this at the ongoing 2017 budget assessment visit to the headquarters of the State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), explained that such measures had become imperative to safeguard lives as well as reduce road crashes.
Corroborating Jolaoso’s view, other members of the Committee including the Chief Whip, Idowu Olowofuja, Honourables Victor Fasanya, Ganiyu Oyedeji and Jimi Otukoya decried the rate at which commercial drivers and motorcycle riders defied traffic lights and other traffic regulations especially within Abeokuta metropolis.
The members charged the Corps to embark on massive enlightenment programmes to sensitise road users on signs adorning the Ogun Standard roads across the State in order to disabuse the minds of the people who were fond of violating traffic rules.
They underscored the need for the corps to deploy more traffic personnel to complement the traffic lights at strategic places to ease traffic and enforce compliance with the devices.
The lawmakers while commending the agency for its resourcefulness posited that sustainable traffic management remained a crucial factor in the economy of any developing nation, charging the agency to evolve more strategies to improve its services.
The TRACE Commandant, Seni Ogunyemi, while speaking on the performance of the agency during the period under review, informed that the 2009 TRACE (Road Traffic Offences) regulations had been repealed and reviewed as TRACE (Road Traffic Offences) regulations 2016 for more effective service delivery.
He explained that the agency as part of its commitment for operational efficiency, introduced “TETS TRACE ” emergency traffic service which allowed members of the public to report any corrupt practices or untoward conduct of the men of the Corps for integrity and transparency in TRACE, just as it had ensure drastic reduction in road traffic crashes through its 24 hours rescue emergency lines.
Meanwhile, the State House of Assembly Committee on Transportation has commended the technical prowess of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Agency (TRACE) in road traffic maintenance which according to the Assembly was being sought after by other States as model.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jolaoso Olujobi Israel who gave the commendation during its oversight visit to the Corps Headquarters in Abeokuta, advised the State’s traffic agency to consider offers from other States to assist them in building and training their traffic officers owing to its acclaimed professional expertise.
He charged the agency to be proactive as it could be an opportunity for it to boost its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and reposition itself for better performance.
Jolaoso said, “After the Assembly has appropriated funds for the State, it is for us to go round so as to know the performance of the agencies, which is very important, as this would give us the opportunity to check the compliance level of the agencies. We are pleased with what we have read and seen in TRACE, and the committee wishes the Corps well in the discharge of its duties to make the State remain at the summit of traffic management in Nigeria.”
The Committee members urged the agency to continue to enforce total compliance with traffic rules by motorists and pedestrians alike, saying it was high time it nipped flagrant disregard for traffic rules and regulations in the bud across the State.
The TRACE Corps Commander, Seni Ogunyemi earlier in his response, had identified incommensurate staff strength to the areas of its coverage across the State as a hiccup to attaining full efficiency as developmental strides of the current administration had prompted influx of people into the State, calling on the Assembly Committee to facilitate possible recruitment of more officers for the Corps to ease the burdens.
He noted that since the corps rendered social services in the society, there was need to approve allowances and stipends for the officers and men of the Corps, who work round the clock to ensure the safety of lives and property on the roads.
“We all know that TRACE is all about traffic management and it renders social service to the society, we will not be able to meet the estimated Internally Generated Revenue. The budget given to TRACE needs to be reviewed every year in order to sustain the agency. We need to buy equipment and gadgets to help promote and sustain traffic management in Ogun State,” Ogunyemi said.