Yomi Bamgbose’s Article on Driver’s License in Nigeria..

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper. 18/3/2008.

This is an article from the Guardian Newspaper written by Yomi Bamgbose.

FRSC and driver’s licence

Also pasted here:

THIS is in response to a statement made recently by the Chief Executive and Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) which was published in The Guardian of January 9, 2008, page 3 wherein he said “The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has concluded plans so prosecute over “100” of its staff for allegedly defrauding various state governments through the printing of fake Drivers’ Licences across the country…”

There has been a raging controversy for some time now on which agency of government is responsible for the issuance of Driver’s Licence in this country, Nigeria. The controversy has, however, reached a point where Nigerians have to be told what they probably do not know about this issue.

Driver’s Licence falls under “Motor Vehicle Administration as a Residual issue under The 1999 Nigerian Constitution”. A relevant definitional point that ought to be addressed first in this context is – what Motor Vehicle Administration is.

Motor Vehicle Administration is a composite process and revolves around the management and the control of Motor Licensing operations including driving and other related licences which include the following matters:-

1. Issuance and Renewal of:

Motor Vehicle Licences

Local Driving Licence

Learner’s Permit

Certificate of Roadworthiness
2. Registration of Vehicle

3. Preparation and Keeping of Statutory Registers of all licences issued.

4. Collection of fees emanating from its operations and payment of same into the appropriate sub-head of the state governments’ accounts.

To the main issue of Fake Driver’s Licence: The FRSC has failed to educate Nigerians on how prospective applicant drivers can obtain a “Genuine Driver’s Licence”. All what they are saying is that once you obtain your forms from the Board Of Internal Revenue of the State concerned, the forms will be forwarded to the FRSC for the printing of the Driver’s Licence, just like that.

The question arises here: Why is it that the VIOs in the State Ministry of Works/Transport nationwide that are charged with the responsibility of testing of prospective drivers and the Issuance of Certificate of Competence are deliberately not mentioned by the FRSC?

Today in Nigeria, three agencies are involved in the processing of Driver’s Licences – namely
(I) The State Board of Internal Revenue (ii) FCT/State VIOs and (iii) The FRSC.

Their statutory responsibility under the law is as follows:: –

The Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) collects monies and issues Learner’s Permit; RS Form NDL – 18 N and receipts to candidates who wish to obtain a Driver’s Licence.

The VIO in the State Ministry of Works/Transport including FCT conducts oral test on Highway Code and Practical Driving Test for prospective drivers. Thereafter, the VIO endorses the Learner’s Permit and the RS Form NDL – 18 N. He also takes the personal data, passport photograph and the “finger print” of the would-be driver. The VIO finally issues a Driving Test Report and Certificate of Competence to the successful candidate. He recommends the “Class/Group” of Driver’s Licence for the category of vehicle to be handled by the driver.

The FRSC which is in possession of the Printing Machine in which the signature of the Director/Chief VIO is being stored, then prints the Driver’s Licence for those candidates that approach the FRSC.
But here are my own observations:

FRSC officials capitalise on their access to the signature of the director/chief VIOs which had already been stored in their “System” and consequently print out Drivers’ Licences indiscriminately to untested and unqualified drivers, hence the high rate of accidents on our highways.

The FRSC has never told nor educated Nigerians that the would-be driver will have to undergo a Driving Test with the VIOs in their various areas in the States/FCT before they can obtain a genuine Driver’s Licence. The moment the FRSC allows Nigerians to know that the would-be driver must go for a Driving Test, the issue of fake Drivers’ Licences will reduce drastically in the country.

The Federal Road Safety Commission should without delay hand over all Information Processing Centres (IPC) nationwide to each state of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory as they have failed Nigerians in the Printing of Driver’s Licence moreso that The Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which came into force on December 31, 2002 and The Revised Edition (Laws of The Federation of Nigeria, Act 2004, Chapter F19 Section 11) clearly states the functions of Federal Road Safety Commission as regards the Printing of Driver’s Licence in Nigeria.

The National Road Traffic Regulation 2006 was a making of the FRSC to create the impression that they have the power to print Driver’s Licences, forgetting that the issue of Motor Vehicle Administration is a Residual Matter Under the 1999 Nigeria Constitution – and this supercedes any regulation.

Bamgbose lives in Abeokuta, Ogun State.