By Stanley Onyekwere
Some road users have expressed the dire need for all stakeholders involved in traffic management in the to return to the roads and ensure seamless movement and improvement of economic activities in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In particular, they appealed to the traffic management officials to save their souls from the current daily nightmarish experiences, following return of traffic gridlocks on major roads, in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
Recall that since eruption of violent mob attacks on public and private facilities, which trailed the controversial protests against Police brutality otherwise known as #EndSARS protests, most traffic officials are yet to return to their respective duty points, thereby resulting in hightened choatic traffic situations everywhere.
Making the appeal for the resumption of full traffic control activities, President, Road Users Development Network of Nigeria, Dr. John John Uket observed that the renewed severe traffic situation in Abuja and Lagos was “as a result of the absence of road traffic personnel from agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police Force, Department of Road Traffic Services (VIO), LASTMA and others who have left the roads unattended to for the fear of the mayhem of the recent uprisings.”
Uket, who spoke during a one-day national dialogue on traffic management held in Abuja, tendered an unreserved apology, and reassured the personnel of safety in public places.
He said: “We have taken into cognizance the need to reassure you the public support that you have always enjoyed before the protest.
“In the spirit of nationhood and patriotism, we want to kindly appeal to you all to let by gone be by gone and forge a new page in our nation’s history.
“For all the traffic officers who are still feeling hurt, we the road users, both motorists and commuters, say sorry for the actions of the hoodlums as we hope that such hoodlums will be brought to justice soon.”
He also condemned the burning of public facilities by the hoodlums, particularly mass transit buses and called for investigation into the matter, even as he advised memebers of the public to rather safeguard public facilities because they were for their good.
However, Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Administration Traffic Management Team, Comrade Ikharo Attah, revealed that traffic management personnel from in FCT remained on the road, doing their routine job during the EndSARS protest, until it was high jacked by hoodlums when the officers had to seek their safety, leaving the roads blocked and unsafe for the public.
Ikharo therefore frowned at a situation where traffic personnel were attacked by hoodlums and the people were cheering them up, instead of appealing to them to stop the act, adding that they were “our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, and have families, so did not deserve to be attacked in that manner.’
“We are very keen and determined to return to the roads, because we want to be on the road and do our routine job. We don’t want to die. When people are stirred up against us, we get scared. The public should support us.”
He equally promised to report to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, on the appeal from road users for traffic officers to return to the roads because “We all want to get to our destinations on time but not to be held up traffic for hours.”