By Stanley Onyekwere
There was a mild drama in Central Business District, Abuja penultimate week, when a driver working with Diff Hospital, Abuja, Bala Danjuma, allegedly peeled off the skin on the face of TokumaIeren, an officer with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),during a desperateattempt to carry out routine checks.
It was gathered that the incident occurred at “finance bridge bus stop” near Office of the Head of Service complex, around the Federal Secretariat’s bullet house, after the driver refused to subject himself to the FRSC officials on duty at the Three Arm Zone in the Central Business District, for their usual routine checks.
Eyewitness account revealed that the attackedFRSC official along with others on duty had flagged down apick-up van, while approaching a junction but the driver refused to stop until the officials pursued him up to Bullet Building in the area, where he was later stopped.
According to one of the passengers inside the van, who identified herself as a staff of Diff Hospital, Joy Abutu, they were on their way to deliver a consignment to a client in Area 8 in Garki, when the Road Safety officer stopped them at the Three Arms Zone junction requesting for driver’s license and other particulars.
“Though, I warned the driver to stop but, I guess the driver refused to stop due to “No Parking” that was boldly written on the sign post thatwas there.”
However, giving his own account the Road Safety officer said, “We flagged down the driver at the Three Arms Zone junction, and as in our practice, we asked him for his driver’s license; at first, he deliberately refused to present it to us peacefully, but after asking for several time, he brought it out and refused to release it for us to check.
“But, I quickly sighted that it was a fake licence, then insisted in arresting him by joining the van as a way to compel him to pull over for proper check of his license and other vehicle particular, but he refused until he got to “finance bridge bus stop” that is after the federal secretariat’ s bullet house.
“As we got to the Bullet house and I noticed that he was still not willing to park, I then pushed the gear selector to neutral while the vehicle was moving slowly, and in the process of dragging the gear selector, he slapped me with rings on his finger and that immediately peeledoff the skin on my face and that touched my badly, and immediately blood started gushing out.
In a twist, the driver of the vehicle denied slapping the officer but rather admitted that the heated argument between the parties might have led to his sustenance of injury.
“I didn’t slap him but I believe that the wound on his face might be as a result of series of heated argument that we had while he was trying to push my gear selector to neutral in a bid to force me to park.
“We rough handled ourselves but I was just lucky enough not to sustain wound on my body,” the driver maintained.
Ironically, the driver who admitted that the Road Safety officer has the full right to stop him for search, however said that he refused to park not because his driver’s license had expired or that he was afraid of them, but because he wasn’t on a lane where he can easily park, and even when they got off the major road, “no parking” signs were conspicuously written there.
On the fate of the rampaging driver, the FRSC patrol team leader, who pleaded anonymity, said the first step was to impound the vehicle and take it to their office at the federal secretariat.
The team leader said that they had to quickly refer the injured officer to hospital for treatment, and thereafter invite the driver for further explanation on the incident.
However, the team leader declined commenting on the position of FRSC over the right of an officer to forcefully entre inside a moving vehicle, in order to carry out a routine checks.