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Cannibalised, Converted Vehicles Are Not Safe – FRSC

05 July 2015   |   4:48 am
Hyginus Omeje is the Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Lagos State Command. He spoke to PAUL ADUNWOKE on the dangers of using locally assembled and converted vehicles.

FRSC-2-620x400Do we have any law regulating the importation of fairly used vehicles into the country?
AS far as I know, the Federal Road Safety Commission personnel are not in the port. But our job is to ensure that any vehicle that is going to ply any Nigerian road must meet the minimum safety standard requirements. Again, the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that vehicles are road worthy. That is why; when you are bringing in a vehicle, you register it. Now, in the process of registration, certificate of roadworthiness is issued. It is presumed at that point in time that the vehicle must have been inspected to ensure that it is worth plying Nigerian roads.

The 1972 change over act migrated us from right-hand drive to left-hand, which means, you are not allowed to bring in right-hand drive vehicles on Nigeria roads. Our responsibility is to ensure that the vehicles on the roads are road worthy. However, we noticed some people import right-hand drive vehicle and convert it. We said, ‘okay, if you say that you converted, you must convert before the vehicles can go anywhere; these vehicles cannot be driven out as right-hand drive again.

Are you aware that people import cannibalised vehicles and assemble them in Nigeria?
Now, you are just telling me that people bring vehicle in pieces and couple them together; I’m not aware of this. All I have noticed is that people import engine of vehicles and other parts and if your vehicle has a problem, you can go there and buy parts. For instance, Ladipo traders are known for fairly used parts or tokunbo.

So, how do you monitor this trend?
Now, you have raised a pertinent issue, we would be on the look out to find out the people that bring these vehicles. If they bring them in pieces, what do they do with it? Would they join them together by welding? If they do, it means they must have an assembly plant.

We are going to collaborate with Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); they are the ones in charge of the products that come into the country. We would look at it and contact Nigeria Customs and Exercise Service to know how these vehicles come into the country. I want to know how they assemble these vehicles and what comes out.

Do you think it’s safe to use such vehicle on Nigerian roads?
It is not safe, and I have always told them. Unfortunately, most of the times, when you convert any vehicle, the end user may not be in your domain. I’m yet to have a trace of one or two vehicles that were converted and do follow up with the user to know what the problems arising from those vehicles are. But to be honest, people who patronise those vehicles are endangering their lives, because it is not safe. People should shun such vehicles because cheap things are never safe, on the long run. I would like to advice that people should avoid such vehicles because the safety is not guaranteed. It is better for people to use vehicles that are meant for Nigerian use.

People, who buy right-hand drive vehicle with the intension to convert, because they think it is cheaper, are gambling with their lives and that of their family members. Cheap things are not cheap at the end of the day; people should drive to save life. The slogan has changed from drive to stay alive to drive to save live. Let us endeavor to obey