In a collaborative exercise between the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC and the Department of State Services (DSS), aimed at putting an end to the extortion of motorists on Nigerian roads, 187 officials of the FRSC have been arrested across the country.
Monies taken as bribes from motorists were also recovered from them.
The exercise, aimed at bringing an end to unwholesome practices by officials of the FRSC, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) and Motor Vehicle Authority Agency (MVAA), also led to the arrest of 25 VIO personnel.
According to Sunday Independent, the officers were arrested across Nigeria between 2019 and 2021 in ‘Operation Tranquility’, a joint operation that involved the ICPC, FRSC and DSS.
While the sum of N1, 293.970 was recovered from 187 FRSC officials, N1, 063.920 was reclaimed from 25 VIO personnel.
The FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, had in 2019 approached the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, for collaboration to curb the unwholesome practices by Road Safety officials on the highways, particularly the extortion of motorists.
According to the figures, the first phase of the operation was in the six states of Kaduna, Rivers, Ogun, Kogi, Bauchi and Abia, while Tranquility Phase 2 was conducted in Ondo, Zamfara, Yobe and Imo states.
Under Phase Four, it was gathered that the operation was carried out in 10 Driver’s Licence Centres in Lagos State. The Centres were in Coker/Aguda, University of Lagos, Ikeja, Iponri, Bariga, Ojo, Town Planning Ilupeju, Eti-osa, Agege and Oshodi.
For the Phase Five, the exercise was conducted in four states, namely, Anambra, Cross-River, Enugu and Plateau.
However, the exercise under Phase 3 was not conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint team was said to have successfully arrested 46 FRSC officers and recovered N40, 830 in Phase 1, while 26 FRSC officers were arrested in Phase 2 with N51, 260 recovered.
According to the data obtained, the highest amount recovered from corrupt road safety officials was N1, 063,920 under Tranquility Phase 4 and 25 road safety officers were picked up, while 33 personnel were arrested under Phase 5 with N45, 870 recovered.
A breakdown of the figures showed that under phase one, four officials were arrested on August 16, 2019 in Kaduna State; five were arrested and the sum of N3, 500 recovered on August 16, 2019 in Rivers State, while six officials were arrested and N500 recovered on August 16, 2019 in Ogun State.
Further breakdown of the arrest made and amount recovered under phase one of the exercise showed that 11 FRSC officials were arrested on August 16, 2019 in Kogi State; five FRSC officials were arrested and the sum of N4, 300 recovered on same date in Bauchi State; while 15 FRSC officials were arrested and a sum of N32, 530 recovered in Abia State.
Further statistics revealed that under the second phase, five officials were arrested and the sum of N1, 150 recovered on October 4, 2019 in Ondo State; eight officials were arrested and about N10, 530 was recovered in Zamfara State; nine officials were arrested and N11, 300 recovered in Imo State; while four officials were arrested and N28, 280 recovered in Yobe State.
For the fourth phase of the operation, 25 officials, VIO and MVAA personnel were arrested and the sum of N1, 063,920 recovered on August 20, 2020, in Coker/ Aguda, University of Lagos, Ikeja, Iponri, Bariga, Ojo, Town Planning Ilupeju, Eti-osa, Agege and Oshodi Driver’s License Centres.
In the same vein, five FRSC officials were arrested in Onitsha under the fifth phase of the operation while Awka had 11 arrested officials; Calabar eight; Enugu five and Jos had four FRSC officials arrested.
The suspects were said to have been granted administrative bail, while further investigation activities are also said to be on-going. Also, while some are undergoing administrative disciplinary procedures, others are being prosecuted in Federal High Courts across the country.
The ICPC officials, who led the various monitoring teams, served as principal witnesses during the investigation..
The Corps Public Education Officer, Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, confirmed the arrests, saying it was done collaboration between ICPC, DSS and FRSC. Under the leadership of Owasanoye, the ICPC has embraced a paradigm shift, consciously promoting strategic partnership with relevant stakeholders to strengthen public enlightenment efforts in discouraging corruption and corrupt tendencies.