The ban on vehicle inspection service on Lagos roads
Sir: Following Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s announcement of the ban of Vehicle Inspection Service officials (VIS) from Lagos roads at the public commissioning of the Ojodu Berger bus stop pedestrian bridges, a lay-by and a slip road some days ago, the public space has been awash with divergent comments on the propriety or otherwise of the government’s decision.
However, one must admit that the voices that have been applauding the government’s decision seem to be in the lead in view of the perception and complaints against the VIO as being high-handed, uncivil, engaged in extortion, arbitrary impoundment and fines, etc.
But in announcing the ban on VIO from the roads, Ambode didn’t corroborate the complaints, but rather harped on the need of his government to employ modern technology rather than manual efforts in carrying out the responsibilities of tracking and monitoring vehicle registration and certification in line with global best practices.
For our education and information, on April 15, 2016, acting without a vote, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Improving global road safety” (document A/70/L.44) expressing concern that road traffic crashes killed more than 1.25 million people and injured as many as 50 million people a year.
Thus, in consonance with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: member-states are specifically invited to adopt comprehensive legislation on key risk factors like speeding, drinking and driving and improve the safety of vehicles and roads of which a compulsory vehicle inspection (both periodic and roadside) is crucial to improving road safety.
Therefore, while one appreciates the government’s commitment to adopting technology for the execution of its responsibilities in the 21st century, one is at a loss to explain the rationale for the “jubilation” that has greeted the government’s action which is simply a change of tactics and thus one is suspicious of the motive of these “happy” people which needs to be scrutinised, in the interest of the society.
One must acknowledge the fact that notwithstanding the complaints against the VIO on Lagos roads, if there is one agency be it federal or state that has driven fear into the minds of drivers and vehicle owners who are in breach of the law, it is the VIO with their uncompromising enforcement against erring motorists.
Well, the days ahead promises to be of interest for the motoring public and public safety. Be that as it may, one hopes that some of our country men and women “celebrating” the ban on VIO in Lagos State will play their part in contributing positively to reducing carnage on our roads by voluntarily ensuring that only licensed drivers and vehicles with valid documents and functioning apparatus ply our the roads notwithstanding the transition from manual to technology for tracking and monitoring vehicle.