The General Manager of Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI), Mrs. Afusat Tiamiyu, spoke with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI on the pursuit of the agency’s mandate especially in the area of training of drivers in ensuring sanity, safety and security on the roads.
How has the journey been?
The experience we had back then was a mixed one, we have the bad, the good and the bitter but to the glory of God we are able to sail through at that period and we came out with positive outcomes. You cannot treat the issue of traffic in isolation without considering human behaviour and error. If all these motorists are doing it right on the roads, we won’t be having issues. The problem that we are facing is human problem. If the vehicle is okay, if the person behind the wheels is not okay there would be problem. I think that is the main reason government, in its own magnanimity believes that Lagos State Drivers Institute will make a huge difference if it is put in place. We believe that putting drivers through continuous training and retraining them yearly will lead to a kind of readjustment, because if we are not getting it right from the road users we are still going to be having issues.
How do you determine the areas where you think the training should focus on?
Let me clarify what we are doing here, we have three major courses that we are offering here aside other unclassified ones. The first one is enshrined in our law, which says anybody driving to earn a living in Lagos State on a daily basis must pass through LASDRI every year. That is called Mandatory Professional Drivers training course. It is just one day in a year that is where we usually address all those identified issues with the drivers. You take them on their responsibilities, what they are expected to do on Lagos roads to make our roads safe for all road users.
Aside that we have the second one which we call Structured Training programme. That is a certificated training programme, we have for people that are driving emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire fighter vehicle, healthcare vehicles, and anybody that drives emergency vehicles. Finally, we have the one we call rehabilitation for drivers. That brings us to the partnership thing with LASTMA and other agencies. The law expressly stated that L A S T M A and Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) are to enforce traffic laws.
What is the capacity of your agency and what is the level of compliance to elicit patronage from your target clients?
I don’t want to mention specific people that are not complying presently, but majority of the people are compliant. For certain categories of people, we are doing everything possible to make them realise that they need to bring their drivers here. When I assumed duty as LASDRI GM, we have five centres in the five divisions in the state; namely Ikorodu, Badagry, Lagos Island, Ikeja and Epe. But immediately I assume office, we increased the numbers and improved on what we had. We are now expanding, we have annex offices in Ikotun/Igando LCDA, we opened another one at Ojodu Berger near VIS office, we also have at Sura in the licensing office, and there is another one we are operating in Agric area of Ikorodu.
Given the present security challenges in the country, are you training the drivers on security measures to apply too when the need arises?
I once told you that our advocacy here is safety and security of lives and property of the people. So, we often tell our drivers to avoid getting involved in anything that can inhibit public peace, which translates to problems for the family and even the country. It is more of an advice from us. It is not in our cur-riculum, but we are inculcating current trends in what we pass across to them because anyone holding LASDRI card, we believe such a person is our ambassador. For that reason, we tell them that the card they are holding is an emblem with which they must not be found wanting. So I tell them that the country is not safe now, so they need to ensure their safety by all means. We have no curriculum on that but because of the present situation, we emphasise that they need to be security conscious and same goes for their vehicles. We tell them that their vehicles must be maintained very well. We also let them know the importance of checking the vehicle wherever it is packed early in the morning before going out, maybe somebody might have dropped something there.
How do you evaluate your performances?
We have a monitoring and enforcement unit, they often go to companies and corporate organisations to do drivers’ audit, to assess from the company what observations they have about their drivers after attending our trainings. Through that avenue, we have been able to get information that things are getting better compared to what we had in time past. Apart from that we don’t collaborate with government agencies alone, we collaborate with the public like the Driving School Association in Lagos State. Not long ago, we had our safety week, our collaboration with other agencies have been yielding fruitful results for us as an agency and for the motoring public.