By David Nsa, Mary Umani And Efa Sunday
Residents and commuters across Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, have reacted to the decision of the Federal Government to arm men of the Federal Road Safety Corps of Nigeria (FRSCN).
Most Cross Riverians who shared their thoughts with CrossRiverWatch TV said it’s not a step in the right direction while some welcomed the idea.
According to Mrs. Roselyn Ekabor, she fears that “the Road Safety personnel have not been properly trained to bear arms and may likely misuse them.”
Another respondent who simply identified himself as Dr. Etim, also held that “arming the Road Safety can lead to anarchy and can as well cause other ordinary civilians to also bear arms, including the Red Cross.”
Others even suggested that the National Assembly should include the right to bear arms for every Nigerian in our laws.
Mr. Thomas Utum, in his own reaction said, equipping FRSC personnel with arms will spell doom and more trouble for them as road users.
The Chairman Central Drivers’ Association of Cross River State (CEDACROS), Mr. Egwu Omini, narrated the ordeal faced by his drivers in the hands of the safety corps marshals and cautioned that they should not be armed.
Some of the respondents who hold contrary views told our reporter that they support the arming of Corps.
Mr. Joseph Edem and Elder Awobia Ekpeyong in separate interviews said it is a welcomed development “as far as they will be trained before being armed”.
A Policeman attached to the State environment police, ‘Green Sheriff’ Mr. Edet Otu, while reacting, said he had no qualms with arming of the Corps Marshals, but warned that when they eventually get armed, they should be careful in handling the arms because, according to him “the gun is spirited.”
Recall that the decision of the House of Representatives to facilitate the procurement of arms and ammunitions for the operations of FRSCN was moved in a motion raised by Hon. Bulus Maren (Plateau PDP), after arguing on the need to curb incessant attacks on personnel of the FRSC.
In the motion, Maren expressed concern over rampant violent attacks, harassment and intimidation of personnel and officers of FRSC by highly-placed individuals, motorists and hoodlums across the country.
The lawmaker said that from 2015 to date, there had been 149 cases of attacks on personnel and 201 cases of damage to properties and equipment of the Corps.
He pointed out that Section 19 of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 provided that one of powers, authorities and privileges of the Corp’s personnel was to bear arms.
Section 19 of the Federal Road Safety (Establishment) Act 2007 states that, “For the purpose of carrying out or enforcing the provision of this Act, such members of the Corps as may be determined by the commission, exposed to high risk in the enforcement of the provisions of this Act, shall have the same power to bear arms as are given by law to members of the Nigeria Police.”
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