Tag Archive | "FRSC"

FG moves against drunk drivers


By Dele Anofi and Sanni Ologun,

The Federal Government plans to provide breath analysers in its health institutions across the country as part of efforts aimed at curbing carnages on the roads.

The analysers, according to the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, would curb incidents of drunk driving on Nigerian highways.

According to the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1.3 million are killed globally annually, while 50 million are injured.

Of the figure, 80 percent occur in developing countries, while Africa is responsible for 75 percent of the burden. The figure would rise by 65 percent by 2020 if nothing is done, he warned.

Chukwu, who spoke in Abuja during the launch of the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety,  warned that concerted efforts by all stakeholders must be harnessed to address the issue, adding that road accidents  kill more Nigerians than malaria, HIV tuberculosis and cancer.

“We have a problem in our hands here; road crashes have become one of our greatest health problems in this country. Road crashes are contributing more to morbidity and mortality rates more than many dreaded diseases.

“In 1990, traffic related deaths were ranked 11th leading cause of death and 9th leading cause of disability globally. The WHO and World Health Assembly project that by the end of 2020, road traffic collisions would have risen as the 3rd leading cause of disability and the 5th leading cause of death by 2030.

“In view of this, I will urge agencies responsible for safety on our roads to enforce the rules, irrespective of the status of offenders, while I also appeal to Nigerians for behavioral change as it affects our road attitude. Obeying simple rules, use of seat belts and avoiding over-speeding would greatly reduce road crashes,” he said.

Earlier in his address, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Osita Chidoka, disclosed that as part of efforts at meeting the 50 percent reduction in road crashes by 2020 in accordance with the UN decade of action, two giant auto makers –Toyota and Nissan, have agreed to provide crash reports on vehicles being shipped to Nigeria.

Furthermore, he said henceforth, certified agencies from Europe would have to present such reports on vehicles meant for Nigerian roads. 

The Corps  Marshal decried the rising spate of indiscipline on Nigerian roads. He disclosed that the agency realised N1.4b from fines from offending motorists.

He revealed that 10 universities have been commissioned to carry out baseline study on motorist’s attitude that would be domesticated in the country’s Decade of Action on road safety.  
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who was represented by the Minister of Works, Sen. Sanusi Dagash, said the Federal Government was conscious of road traffic challenges but promised to continue to support the FRSC through greater commitment to the six pillars of the UN Decade of Action.

The UN Decade of Action on Road Safety that was simultaneously launched around the world yesterday was witnessed by top government functionaries, captains of industry, senior military officers, traditional rulers, diplomats as well as sections of the entertainment industry.  

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Nigerian Driving Licence: A tale of confusion


 For many applicants who either want to obtain fresh driving licences or renew the expired ones, it has been one long wait too many in recent times, reports SAMUEL AWOYINFA

AN estate agent, Mr. Oladele Bolanle, was flagged down in the morning of December 7, 2010 on his way to the office by the men of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Unit, popularly called VIOs.

They asked him to produce his driving licence. Nursing no fear, he gladly released it to them for inspection. But after careful observation, the verdict from the officer was: “Your driving licence is a fake.”

Befuddled by the verdict, he was instantly booked. However, since December when Bolanle submitted application for a fresh driving licence, he is yet to obtain it. What he uses in lieu of the document are the copies of the receipt of payment and the applicant’s form.

From investigations done by our correspondent last week, there are many commercial drivers and private car owners in Bolanle’s shoes. Thousands of motorists, both those who had applied for fresh driving licence and those for seeking renewal, are currently in a quandary and do not know when their driving licences will be ready.

The processes of obtaining either the fresh or renewed driving licence start with the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency, then to the VIO and finally to the Federal Road Safety Corps. Both the MVAA and VIO are under the Ministry of Transportation, Lagos State, while the FRSC is a federal agency.

Applicants make payments in relevant offices and then obtain forms for both fresh and renewal, both of which are issued by the MVAA. The official amount payable for fresh driving licence is N3,190; and for renewal, N3,040. This information is displayed conspicuously in front of the agency’s office at Ojodu. However, unconfirmed reports say applicants pay as much N3,500 and N3,300 respectively.

After payments are made, the vehicle inspection officers take applicants through tests, which include practical driving within an area in their Ojodu premises. Eye tests are also carried out to ensure that applicants are fit to drive. They are also made to watch a VCD on television, which dwells mostly on road instructions and the rules guiding intersections and roundabouts, and road signs generally.

It is after this that applicants move to the FRSC for what is known as ‘capturing.’ Here, the information on the forms brought by applicants is fed into the FRSC database, and it forms a part of the information that appears on the individual’s driving licence.

Again, applicant’s photograph and fingerprints will be directly captured in this office.As such, the FRSC office is the final destination in the tripartite relationship of driving licence production. The FRSC produces the driving licences and hands them over to the MVAA, or the state concerned, as the case may be. It is from the state organ that the applicants pick up their driving licence when they are ready.

In recent times, however, there seems to be a break in the chain of driving licence production. Investigations by our correspondent seem to indicate that the FRSC is overwhelmed by the deluge of demand for driving licence in Lagos especially, while it also seems as if the machines for its production are inadequate.

While the MVAA keeps issuing between 200 and 300 application forms for driving licences on a daily basis, the number of backlog of those who want the document keeps increasing. That means more work for the FRSC.

Since the FRSC seems unable to match the demand, especially in terms of prompt production, backlog, as our correspondent discovered, date as far as July 2010. And that is for the Ojodu, Lagos, licensing office alone. In other five licensing centres like the Old Secretariat, Ikeja, Sura, Ikorodu and Iyana Oworo, the backlogs could date as far back as May or June 2010.

A number of applicants who came to the Ojodu office of the MVAA last Thursday, hoping to collect their licences, were disappointed. An official of the MVAA merely told them to go to the FRSC office, which is within the same premises.

Mr. Cyril Ezegbune, who had applied for a fresh driving licence since last August, was angry when he turned up on Thursday, hoping to get his licence. “It is annoying. This is the sixth month since I have applied for a driving licence; up till now, I’ve been repeatedly told that it is not yet ready. What is really the problem? They should let us know what is going on,” he stresses.

Ezegbune says since he has no national identity card or international passport, the driving licence serves as his only official means of identification, saying he needs it to update his bank account.

Another applicant, Mrs. Abajigin Omobolanle, said she had applied for the driving licence since April 2010. She also turned up on Thursday, but she was unlucky. After the MVAA official had rummaged through the stack of driving licences on her table, Omobolanle’s own was not there.

Omobolanle explodes in anger, “It is not easy to carry one’s international passport to the bank every time, what with the security implications.”

She states further that she has had to come for the re-stamping of the receipt of payment and applicant’s form on two occasions to revalidate them and to avoid embarrassment from law enforcement agents when on the road.

On his own part, another applicant who identified himself as Mr. J. Adeosun tells our correspondent that he applied for the driving licence in March 2010, and that he was lucky to have his own among the ones that are ready in the MVAA office.

Before he got lucky, he says, he came for revalidation of his documents about three times, coming every three months.

On Wednesday, the sector commander, FRSC, Lagos State Command, Mr. Jonas Agwu, while reacting to the issue of delay in the production of the driving licence, states that there are many factors responsible for it.

He lists inadequate number of licensing centres in Lagos, the backlog that had built up during the period the production of the licences was stopped as a result of the face-off between the Lagos State Government and the federal government, among others.

“The number of application forms we are getting outweighs the number of licensing centres in the state, which is why it becomes imperative for the state to expand the number of centres it currently has, which is just six,” he says.

Agwu, who notes that the recent joint operations by the FRSC, VIO and LASTMA in fishing out motorists with fake driving licences have led to the upsurge in the number of applicants, adds that the FRSC has agreed with the state government that there is the need to establish more centres in the state so as to fast-track driving licence production.

The Lagos State commissioner for Transportation, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, stresses that there is the need for all the agencies involved in the production of driving licence to work together in order to meet the desired objective.

“Who is the federal, state and the local government? Is it not we the people? I believe all the chains involved in the production must work together towards achieving the common goal – which is the production of driving licence. It becomes another thing when one part to the whole process is failing on its own responsibility,” he adds.

Badejo explains that there is a joint committee working on the driving licence and he believes that the committee will find a lasting solution to the hiccups being experienced currently.

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