Harmonization: Is FRSC Above The Law?


By Ben Auta

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) which was statutorily established by the government has been an agency saddled with the enforcement of rules and regulations as well as the management of road accidents and other sundry matters regarding road management.

Recently, indications in the corps showed that many of its rank and file are gearing up for a showdown with the management due to its non-implementation of a federal government directive to place its rank and file cadre in line with that of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

As a paramilitary outfit of the federal government, it behoves the commission to respect the order issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government and Head of Service.

It is said that ‘nobody, no matter how highly placed, is above the law’. The president of any country is not above the law of the land rather he is elected or appointed to protect the law.

And in Nigeria, there are agencies that were created by the laws of the land but live above the law that created them: Federal Road Safety Corps is one of them.

Presently, the FRSC is one of the agencies that pride themselves as an elite organization but fall short in many aspects when it comes to obeying government circulars even when such come from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The FRSC management chooses which circulars from government to obey, and turns blind eyes to the ones that it considers ‘WELFARE’ circulars that are supposed to improve the morale of staff members and increase productivity across board.

For example, when the circular on HND without additional qualifications that puts a bar on the career progression of all federal workers came, the FRSC management quickly obeyed and implemented it but when government removed the dichotomy between HND and degree holders in the public service, it took FRSC management some years to implement it.

One of the burning issues that are quietly and consistently demoralizing the morale of staffers in the corps is

It will be recalled that the government through the office of the head of civil service issued a circular directing all paramilitary agencies to harmonize their ranking structures to align with that of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in order to bring about uniformity across the different agencies who always collaborate in different operations from time to time. But the FRSC management turned a blind eye to this circular.

While other agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have all complied with that circular via circular reference CDCFIB/1001/VOLI/110 dated 16th October, 2020 FRSC has refused to obey it.

It should also be noted that
1. It is only in FRSC that there are three tiers of ranking structure for Marshalls I.e Road Marshall Assistant, Marshall Inspectors and above (RMAs, MIs) and Officers cadre).

2. It is only in FRSC that a three-tier of levels 8 can be found as the case may be, which in the public service are not operational in the different cadres.

As it is with in the Nigeria Police, a secondary school holder who is recruited on level 3 (constable) and meritoriously puts in 35 years of service can progress and retire as an ASP or SP, that means the person would have enjoyed 11 promotions while in service.

But in the FRSC, a staff with the same secondary school qualification will only be promoted 5 or 6 times in his entire 35 years of service, what an injustice!

Hitherto, most of the rank and file blame their lack of motivation to the great injustice and injury done to them by the management of the corps.

Most of their grouse comes from the fact that a Chief Inspector (CI) on level SGL 13 will be answerable to an ARC on SGL 8 while performing joint duties with sister agencies and if years of service are compared, the FRSC staff always lags because the other agencies outrank them.

A classic example is that of Marshall Inspectors who served during the last general election organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where a lot of Marshall Inspectors were cowed by many paramilitary organizations by shutting down such personnel despite having seniority over such officers who according to reports were junior to them in years of service.

Also a hint by some of the officials of the commission revealed that when the present Corps Marshall resumed office, he constituted a panel to look into the issue but which has not either reported to him or is sitting somewhere else among unattended files.

While most rank and file are wishing for a better deal with the management, their morale continues to be low because most rank and file who had stayed very long in the service continue to grumble because the officers who superintendent over them are either not experienced to handle particular assignments or just hand over such functions to the Marshalls as they are more experience.

Some pertinent questions that need to be asked about the harmonization are

1. Is harmonization going to cost the government anything? No! Because the same salaries will be paid to the affected officers as they are already recieving such.

2. Government will rather save a lot of money in recruiting and training of new officers for the corps as the staff already have ample experiences on the job with many years of experience

4. A majority of staff will rather see the commission under the same board with other sister agencies as against being under the office of the SGF which has made the management hell bent on disobeying orders from the federal government despite priding itself as an ISO certified organization

Finally, the morale of the staff is low, this has led to an increase of crashes on our roads as staff who put in 20 years and above and are between levels 10 to 13 are made to carry out orders from inexperienced junior staff of levels 7 and 8 who are even less that 6 yrs and 2 yrs in service.

Government should do something about this issue of harmonization in FRSC before there is total chaos on our roads.

Adadainfo Adadareporters.com is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: adadainfo1@gmail.com Phone: 08071790941

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