By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
Oyo State government has said it will soon begin breath test to ascertain whether or not drivers are drunk while driving.
The move, according to the government, is to reduce the rate of accidents caused by drunk-driving among drivers, which is a major cause of loss of lives, property and huge damage to government facilities and infrastructures.
The government made the disclosure through the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA), Dr Akin Fagbemi, while showing a truck recovered from robbers at the Akinyele area of the State, to journalists.
Fagbemi, who said three suspects nabbed in relation to the crime were already in police custody, also advised motorists to be security conscious while parking their vehicles and also desist from drinking and driving.
Narrating what led to the arrest, the OYRTMA Boss said the truck, with registration number LFTZ FZE 104 LA, was recovered when his officers engaged the drivers on the genuineness of the ownership and why it had been parked by the road side for some time.
“We are here to acquaint the public to our activities for the ember months. You can see one of our works within the State is that we apprehended a vehicle and while carrying out our investigation, we discovered that the vehicle was stolen and parked along Akinyele where our men were carrying out operations on trucks,” he said.
Fagbemi explained that the suspects, who were uncomfortable with the interrogation, suddenly took to their heels while the discussion lasted but were later caught by the Police whose interrogation led to the discovery that the vehicle was stolen from a construction site in Lagos with the hope of selling same in Ibadan.
Disclosing that the Commissioner of Police is in the know of the matter, he noted, “For now, three suspects are with the Police but investigations are on and the Police is handling that, but for us, pending when the investigations will be concluded, the vehicle will still be in our custody. It is an empty truck from the Free Trade Zone Area of Lekki.”
While soliciting the support and cooperation of other agencies and stakeholders in the State, the OYRTMA Boss reiterated the determination of the Agency to ensure free flow of traffic during the festive period, stating that the mandate of the body has been extended to ensuring safety of lives and property of residents.
“We quickly want to say that for this period, we are not just only enforcing road traffic laws, part of our mandates is also to ensure that there is safety of vehicles and safety of humans and even the environment which are part of the activities for this period,” Fagbemi said.
“We also want to encourage our people that they should please and please cooperate with the authority. Governor Seyi Makinde has mandated that within this festive period, we should ensure that there is free flow of movement of persons, vehicles and goods and that is what we are doing. Our officers and men are working day and night, if you walk around, you will see them,” he appealed.
The OYRTMA Boss also warned club owners across the State to create convenient parking spaces for their customers or encourage them to desist from indiscriminate parking that is leading to unnecessary traffic gridlock across the State, otherwise the Agency would arrest them.
He appealed to those who drink not to drive if they must drink and not to drink if they must drive, explaining that the Agency had apprehended more than five vehicles who had accidents and destroyed some infrastructures and amenities put in place by the government, as a result of drunk-driving.
Fagbemi said, “You will notice that some street lights just installed are being destroyed through road accidents. We want to plead with the people because their lives too is very germane to this government. We want them to celebrate this festive period accident-free and free of untimely death.”
“Soonest, we will begin breath test in Oyo State because our law permits us to do so and we have the equipment for that purpose because the rate of accident occasioned by drunken drivers is getting alarming. And anybody caught guilty will be made to face the full wrath of the law,” he stated.
The OYRTMA Boss also urged residents to be security conscious when parking their vehicles and not park indiscriminately.