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On Inspection Of Vehicles, Drivers’ Licences 


Men of FRSC on duty

Men of FRSC on duty

WHEN the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, stated the other day at a meeting with the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, that the inspection of vehicles and drivers’ licences by men of the Vehicle Inspectorate Officers (VIOs) is illegal, he could not have expressed any better the need to alleviate the suffering of motorists who are daily being harassed by several agencies over the same drivers’ licences and vehicles’ particulars. Since the FRSC boss, however, failed to categorically state that his organisation is the only one responsible for the inspection of vehicles and drivers’ licences, he left a very vital question unanswered as to the agency or agencies that rightfully have this responsibility. The result would be that multiple agencies would continue doing the same duty.

Sadly, this state of flux as regards the rightful agency or agencies to inspect vehicles and drivers’ licences has always paved the way for the constant harassment of motorists by sundry agencies like the Vehicle Inspectorate Office (VIO), the FRSC, the police, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) and even soldiers. It is, therefore, necessary for the government to clearly define, which agency or agencies should be responsible for the inspection of vehicles and drivers’ licences. Surprisingly, in the case of the VIO and the FRSC, their stated functions indicate that both are empowered statutorily to issue driver’s licences. And the question is: why should the one agency that issues driver’s licences not have the sole power to inspect them?

Beyond checking the state of road worthiness of vehicles, the VIO claims to render the following services, among others: issuance of driver’s licences; authentication of existing driver’s licences; renewal of driver’s licences; and replacement of stolen or defaced driver’s licences. In fact, an applicant for a driver’s licence from the FRSC is referred to the VIOs for tests.

In Section10 (2) of the FRSC (Establishment Act) 2007, the following are listed as the functions of the agency: Clearing obstruction on the highways; preventing and minimising road traffic crashes; educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public on the proper use of the highways; designing and producing vehicle number plates and driver’s licences; conducting researches into the causes, effects and methods of preventing road traffic crashes; providing prompt attention and care to victims of road traffic crashes; determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of road and vehicles; and cooperating with  agencies and groups engaged in road safety activities to prevent crashes on the highways.

Certainly, it is part of the failure of the society that government agencies often neglect their core duties while they meddle in those of other bodies simply because they are spurred by the prospect of pecuniary gains. This is why it is imperative to streamline the functions of agencies like the police, FRSC, VIO and LASTMA, which are all now jostling to inspect vehicles and drivers’ licences. The laws must come out clearly on the duties of each and areas where they over-lap should be amended.

It is sad that this confusion would seem to have been deliberately encouraged by the governments at the federal and state levels which have turned the agencies into money-making ventures with revenue targets. Unfortunately, when the government gives these agencies financial targets, they are bound to go beyond their remit and do whatever they can to meet those financial goals. This is why at the least suspicion of a violation of a regulation, motorists are often unjustifiably penalised and are ordered to pay fines when some of such perceived offences should have rightly elicited from officials mere caution and more enlightenment.

Again, there would not have been much objection if citizens were convinced that   the fines are going to the appropriate coffers to be used to improve the welfare of the generality of the people. But in most cases, this is not the case. The result is a monumental corruption and a breakdown of the system.

While it is necessary for the government to properly delineate the duties and create awareness about each of the agencies, it is equally incumbent on the citizens to educate themselves on their rights. They should stop putting themselves at the mercy of illegal acts by regulators. Thankfully, citizens have in the past taken some of these agencies to court in a bid to check their excesses and they have won. Until the government successfully clears the confusion over the functions of the afore-stated agencies, harassment of citizens will continue and their men will never operate within the confines of their statutorily defined duties.

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  • utolason

    Editor: You are right as to the multiplicity of agencies in Nigeria. But you failed to be more specific as to how this came about. The problem with governance in Nigeria is corruption. Those in positions of authority continually expand their areas of influence for more opportunities to enrich themselves.

    As you alluded to, the role of FRSC is “designing and producing vehicle number plates and driver’s licences”. This does not mean or imply they have authority to “issue” number plates and driver licenses. FRSC can only design and produce for the issuing authorities. An example is how the naira currency is designed and produced for CBN, who subsequently issue it.

    It is not clear what FRSC chief mean when he said “inspection of vehicles and drivers’ licences by men of the Vehicle Inspectorate Officers (VIOs) is illegal”. Until there is a law abolishing VIO office, they are legally entitled to inspect vehicles. Section 10(2) of the FRSC (establishment) Act 2007 does not give FRSC the right to inspect vehicles and driver licenses (again, refer to the CBN example).

  • Abayomi Oguns

    These are agencies that should be merged.

  • Timely piece. This proliferation of road “polices” must be stopped forthwith

  • banks111

    The fact is, we have too many redundant agencies all out to harass and extort the driving public.

  • sunday government

    The guy stopped short of clearing the air because they all profit from this induced confusion. At the end of the day, it is the ordinary Nigerian that suffers.

  • dan

    The politics of the imidiate previous boss of frsc was not in favour of the public but to the detriment of the constitution and the entire public. If you are not to do, you are not to be there. The printing of the plate number just like ulatason said is done by a consultant while FRSC is to take stocke of how many is printed to each state of the fedration . The history of v.I.o will tell you that it is the duty of the Nigeria policy to keep record of all the registered vehicle along with the v.i
    O because police invesigate when it comes to crime but not the frsc. The v.i.o and the police need to wake up to their challanges.On the Driver’s licence, there can not be two captain in a ship. Frsc is forceing her self to be relevant if not cap 548 of the constitution give the v.I.o the authority to test,train,print and certify drivers on Nigeria roads. If there is no personal interest , FRSC is not a revenue generating organ of government but they keep on ticketing without government reciept but Bank tellers to who’s Account? All over the world traffic is a state affairs properly arranged under the police ,the v.I.o is answerable to a commissioner under IGP the FRSC is answerable to a commissioner under IGP, NSCDC answerable to IGP SSS,NCS,NIS,NIA,etc autonomous OK.(because of their sencitivity) Double taxation must stop. Imagine FRSC is telling the public to remove plate number from their vehicle if they want to sell their vehicle it is wrong.the number plate is to die with that vehicle to checkmate crime. If you sell out the vehicle, the change of ownership is done in the system of the state of registrslation with date to so that the previous owner is no longer in possession with an agreement on notice of the police. May ALMIGHTY GOD HELP US.

  • Perrymarvis2014

    The worst culprit in this bank of confusion is the Lagos State government. I am glad their excesses have been checkmated by some legal activist. Many of them are just criminals in uniform. There has to a distinction on what happens in a democracy. Most of these agencies have deviated from the objective that brought them to existence. Citizens need to focus on them so that their rights will not be violated with impunity. We should rise up and hold them responsible, it is not only during elections that mobilization and sensitization should take place, it must be an all day activity. The level of double taxation in Nigeria is alarming, and when these illegal taxes are paid, it ends up in the pocket of some fat politicians and corrupt civil servants. . Some thing must be done about it and urgently too.