Lawyers knock FRSC over alleged harassment, extortion of motorists in Calabar


Two lawyers, Wilfred Akpan and Justine Wilson in Cross Rivers State have challenged the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, for alleged continued harassment of motorists along state and local governments roads.

In separate interviews, they viewed the FRSC’s action as a flagrant disregard of the Appeal Court judgement of July 19, 2023, banning them from standing along state roads.

The lawyers also called on the federal government to review the cost of acquiring and renewing driver’s licence which is more than the national minimum wage.

Officials of the corps were reported to have barricaded the popular Marian Road in Calabar Municipality, where they reportedly harassed motorists.

The FRSC personnel alongside armed operatives of the Civil Defence Corps were alleged to have conducted illegal searches and arrested motorists at gun points on trumped up charges such as defaced plate numbers, expired documents and unrenewed driver’s licence.


Reacting, the Sector Commander of FRSC in the state, Istsafa Ibrahim said, “The issue of whether they should operate on state roads has lingered.

“Are Nigerians saying if there are accidents on such roads we shouldn’t go to rescue lives? How many federal roads are in the state? Both roads are interwoven and dovetail into each other. Our major concern is to save lives.”

On the issue of collecting taxes and extortions, Ibrahim frowned at such, clarifying that it is not within the purview of FRSC to collect taxes.

He said their job mainly is to enforce traffic laws and ensure the state of vehicles are in the best conditions.

“We’ve internal mechanisms to handle our personnel who may be involved in issues of harassment, intimidation or incivility. If the alleged harassment is in the course of enforcing the law, there’s a need to delve into it properly,” he said.

One of the victims, Madam Rose Okokon, who sustained physical injury, lamented the aggressive treatment meted out on her by an official of FRSC.

Madam Okokon, who relived the painful ordeal said, “I was so shocked and surprised to see the FRSC officials on a state government road like Marian. Usually they stand on the Murtala Mohammed Highway.

“As a loyal citizen of this country, when they flagged me, I stopped and the man, C. E. Ejim was the name tag. He asked for my vehicle particulars and I complied. Everything was in order.

“But, the next thing I knew was that the man went away with the originals of my driver’s licence. Claiming that it was expired.

“Meanwhile, I have a 5 years licence, which will expire in 2025. Now that was dubious. Because I raised the alarm that he cannot take my original and valid driver’s licence away, he started claiming that my four months old tires were expired.

“He was looking for every way to indict me and since he couldn’t find any, he still would not return my documents. He asked to see my spare tyre and fire extinguisher, even ordering me to unfasten the tyre and bring it to him before he would release my valid documents. In the process, I sustained injuries. I am truly traumatized,” she said.

On further investigation by our reporter, a road safety official, who pleaded anonymity, said that they were collaborating with the Cross River State government to enforce road tax and generate revenue.

A visit to the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service, CRIRS, where the road safety officials were supposedly registering vehicle owners under a tree beside the CRIRS building, a basket was seen containing several seized car keys and a staff of the CRIRS was conducting documentation and collecting revenue.

Madam Okokon told our reporter, “there is something not right here. State Government’s money is supposed to be paid directly into an account, but here these people are collecting cash.

“Even the money they ask you to pay is not what is written on the paper you are given. They will collect N20,000 and write N15,000.”

“It is fraudulent and they are using brutal force to defraud citizens. That’s bad. I want the state government not to allow this kind of open fraud,” she appealed.

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