Pursuant to the concerted efforts already in place to ensure that victims of road crashes are duly compensated through established legal processes, the Federal Road Safety Corps has secured a fruitful collaboration with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) towards filing civil action against recalcitrant drivers and their employers whose bad road use culture results in road traffic injuries and fatalities.
The partnership was sealed during a working visit of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu to the President, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN on Monday.
During the visit, the Corps Marshal emphasised the need to bring to an end the current reign of impunity on our roads by ensuring that any driver whose actions or inactions lead to loss of lives or injuries of other road users is made to face the wrath of the law.
He beckoned on the President to play proactive role by constituting a team of legal luminaries that will help stem this dangerous tide through filing of civil actions against these drivers and their employers.
The Corps Marshal also seek the assistance of the President in reshaping the erroneous position of some States Judiciary that FRSC lacks the powers to operate on State roads. He noted that some High Courts in a number of states have given judgment to that effect against the Corps.
Responding to the Corps Marshal, the NBA President lauded the gesture and reaffirmed the readiness of the Nigeria Bar Association to partner with the Corps in that regard, noting that it is for the interest of the entire nation.
He assured the Corps Marshal that the 125 branches of the Association will be directed to key into the partnership and ensure smooth handling of the cases as applicable.
Accordingly, he directed the immediate constitution of a committee saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the obligation of bringing justice to victims of road crashes.
The Committee which is to be headed by Mr OA Sule SAN has the Association’s Branch Chairmen of Suleja, Gwagwalada, Keffi, Bwari, Kwali and Abuja Municipal Area as members of the Committee. Other members of the committee are the Corps Legal Adviser and selected FRSC legal team.
On reshaping the erroneous position on FRSC’s power to operate on state roads, the NBA President assured the Corps Marshal that he will liaise with the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chief Justice of the Federation, as well as all Heads of Courts to ensure that the erroneous position is corrected because according to him, road traffic crashes does not have jurisdiction and can occur on all roads if not adequately prevented.
He equally granted inclusion of FRSC lawyers in committees of the NBA.
It will be recalled that this is not the first time the Corps has extended partnership towards ensuring victims of crashes are duly compensated. As a matter of fact, the Corps, while prosecuting the driver who killed former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Festus Iyayi entered an agreement binded by memorandum of understanding with the Falana Chambers to partner with the Corps in prosecuting these drivers and their employers.
Part of the reason for the visit to NBA headquarters was to leverage on the national reach of the reputable and noble Association for swift prosecution, and adequate compensation of victims.