The House of Representatives on Monday reacted to reports that it had approved the use of firearms by personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
The Chairman of the House Committee on FRSC, Mayowa Akinfolarin, who made the clarification at a press conference in Abuja, said the lawmakers only expressed concerns over the safety of the FRSC personnel across the country.
The committee had reportedly suggested the use of firearms by the FRSC personnel during last Thursday’s meeting with the Corps Marshall, Boboye Oyeyemi.
Oyeyemi, who appeared before the committee to defend the FRSC’s 2021 budget proposal, lamented the threats to the lives of the corps personnel.
However, at Monday’s briefing, the committee chairman insisted that the lawmakers did not give the FRSC personnel approval to carry firearms.
Akonfolarin said: “We want to start by debunking some insinuations made across social media. We were with the Federal Road Safety Corps for budget defence and in that meeting, it was clearly stated that as responsive representative, we owe it a duty to protect lives and properties on our roads.
The Corps Marshal made some reports concerning the harassment, molestations, and killings of his corps officers and we responded as a committee; a committee that is very responsive and sensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
“We made it clear that we owe it a duty to ensure safety on our roads. The road safety people and road users are all Nigerians and it is our responsibility – it is an issue of two sides of a coin – that the personnel of the road safety must be protected. And we made it clear in that meeting that safety on our roads is a collective responsibility, including all of you here seated.
“We made reference to existing law, the Road Safety Establishment Act of 2007, and Section 19 made it very clear that those on essential duties, those exposed risks should be protected by way of giving arms to them where possible. We said a committee should be set up.
“We are not saying road safety should carry arm or not; what we are saying is (that) if you have a law, what should be done is to call for amendment. Once you have that amendment, there will be public hearing, at the hearing, the people will be able to make their contributions where necessary.
“We said as a committee, we need to form a body that will liaise with this commission, SGF, supervisory bodies, so that we can come together, brainstorm, and see what can be done, so that unnecessarily we don’t lose our men to hoodlums.”