An increase in crime on the roads has sparked fresh debate over whether members of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) should be allowed to carry firearms.

The chief marshal of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, has said some 70 operatives were either shot dead by robbers or knocked down by hit-and-run drivers in 2016.

Those deaths would have been prevented if his operatives had guns, he claimed.

FRSC spokesman Bisi Kazeem said officials were legally entitled to do so.

“The provision is there in the FRSC Act but the government has to approve and gazette it before it can be implemented,” he told AFP.

Nevertheless, industry sources said an armoury had been built for the agency in the capital, Abuja, should the green light be given.

Last year, the lower chamber of parliament, House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the government to procure weapons for the road marshals.