The Corps Public Education Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Bisi Kazeem in an interview with CAPITAL POST in Abuja noted that the lockdown, which was declared by the Federal government was in the interest of Nigerians, saying that it’s the effective way to curtail the coronavirus pandemic.
He explained that the FRSC was in serious collaboration with other enforcement agencies to ensure compliance. Excerps:
Q. What is the perspective of FRSC with regards to the drivers observing protocols put in place to stem the tide of coronavirus spread?
A. I think our responsibility in this fight against the virus is very clear. Ours is a collaborative effort with security and intelligence agencies to enforce compliance on Federal and State Government’s directive on lockdown. We are particularly making sure drivers, including those on essential duties comply with social distancing even in the vehicle as they transit.
As you know, the Corps had earlier directed that all drivers, private and public must not carry more than two on a row to avoid further spread. At the moment, I think we are good on that and the personnel have been enforcing this to the letter and we are very satisfied with the present positive energy and morale as they continue to sacrifice and serve the nation.
Q. How does a driver know he carries a COVID-19 victim in a car and what should be done immediately upon discovery particularly if the driver is distance away from the test centre?
A. In the wake of the global health challenge, the Corps interfaced with public transport operators and leaderships of transport unions and directed them to imbibe maximum preventive measures at their terminals and ensure that every passenger is subjected to temperature test before entering the parks and terminals. However, immediately a driver notices a symptom from a passenger, he is expected to park and call the NCDC emergency numbers as it is expected that an ambulance will be deployed to the area to evacuate the victim.
The driver must not manage the situation by continuing with the trip as that could be dangerous and could lead to transmitting the virus to other occupants of the vehicle. He is not professionally trained to handle a matter as delicate as that, as such, he is at best expected to discontinue the journey and call the NCDC emergency numbers.
Q. Have there been any formal training for Corps personnel across the Federation in the advent of this deadly disease given the fact that the personnel directly involve in the process of coordination.
A. Of course, FRSC personnel have been thoroughly guided on the safest ways to relate with the public during the entire era of the pandemic. First step in that regard is to adopt all preventive measures including putting on protective face masks, wearing hand gloves and maintain reasonable distance as they carry out their responsibilities.
This set of staff are also subjected to pre-patrol briefing and debriefing at the end of their schedules.
Q. It is observed that the Corps has never taken the enlightenment of coronavirus to Motor parks which is a critical stakeholder in the Corps reach out. Are you not worried that something is wrong with Nigeria’s coordination?
A. No, No, No! that is not true. Immediately the pandemic became serious, the Corps engaged in massive public enlightenment campaigns including holding mega rallies at different parks. In the FCT for instance, we held mega sensitisation rallies in Gwagwalada and Zuba parks where we had a serious engagement on the dangers of overloading this period and the essentials of having a running water with hand washing soaps, sanitisers, compulsory temperature test etc at the parks to curtail the spread. Further to that, the Corps Marshal also directed all formations to engage in aggressive public enlightenment campaigns at motor parks which of course yielded expected compliance.
The Corps also engaged the media as we have issued series of press releases and written severally on the subject so as to create adequate awareness especially for road users.
Q. What are the reports from states command across the country since lockdown started with regards to experiences of Corps personnel so far?
A. From what we have gathered, there is a reasonable level of compliance nationwide, expect for some few violators who have contravened the stay at home order. However, we are on our part sustaining g existing campaigns to ensure that the ignorant ones are enlightened as deviants will face severe punishment.
Q. Does the Corps currently have health facilities for use either as isolation centres or testing centres given the upsurge of the scourge in Nigeria.
A. The escalation of the pandemic in Nigeria has not gotten to that alarming and overwhelming level yet. The facilities already provided by both Federal and State Governments can contain the present cases recorded. However, you know that the governments at different level are building more isolation centres. But in the event it escalates beyond the present level which we don’t pray it does, the Corps would be readily available to offer all its medical facilities. We are ready at all times.
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