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Monday, November 29, 2021

Unlicensed Drivers in Ondo State

RECENT statistics conducted in Ondo State have shown that 80 percent of commercial drivers and 64 percent of private vehicle owners using the roads in the state are unlicensed.The report, according to Mr Alaba Adeleye, the Ondo State Director of Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), emanated from the ongoing exercise of Operation Show Your Driver’s License which involves checking the drivers’ licenses of road users by men of the VIO, and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).The VIO boss disclosed that they have a data base for all drivers in the state for criminal profiling.
THE Hope notes that this is a clear indication that a larger percentage of road users (drivers) on our roads in the state are ‘illegal drivers.’ They thus tend to pose serious dangers to other road users. This is because citizens usually violate processes in Nigeria with reckless abandon.
LOOKING at the implication on other road users, unlicensed drivers on the roads constitute nuisance and risk to other drivers. Some of them are vicious while on the roads and have sent many other road users and pedestrians to their early graves. Moreso, when they commit any road offence, it is always hard to get their bio data.
HENCE with the rate of non-compliance, it is high time the state government took responsibility to ensure citizens abide by the law as it is the duty of the government to regulate the activities of citizens while the public must also be enlightened on the dangers of not having drivers’ licenses.
TO ensure that only the tested and approved persons are certified to drive, government has emplaced a process which begins from registration with a government approved driving school, online training /testing by the VIO, capturing at FRSC, and ends with payment for license at the State Internal Revenue Service. For ease of access, an applicant is required to register with the government approved driving schools. in Ondo State numbering 34l and after the completion of six modules online teaching, the applicant will be issued a certificate which carries a code number. The number will act as password to access Nigerian Driver’s License platform to be certified for a particular class of the license.
IN spite of this seeming water tight process, some citizens still circumvent the process to obtain the license either by proxy or through the back door. Some road users claimed the process is cumbersome. For instance, an applicant who complained of the long and tiresome process of obtaining license, said she had spent a huge sum of money on the process but yet to get the license, even after writing a computer-based test and paying extra unaccounted fees (black money).
TO simplify the long process of obtaining the driver’s license, government must identify the cumbersome process and figure out ways to facilitate the process to encourage more road users to obtain their licenses. The Hope commends the Ondo State Government for issuing a circular that all government drivers must present their drivers’ licenses. We equally charge government to ensure that citizens who drive on the roads are certified. Therefore, government should show seriousness in dealing with unlicensed drivers according to the extant rules.
ANOTHER serious issue is touting, which has made the issuance of driver’s license so difficult. We note that the issuance of license is shrouded in secrecy, so much that the process lacks transparency. Though, the process has been liberalised, officials still handle it with secrecy. If their field workers (VIO, FRSC e.t.c), had been committed to implementation, impunity will not have been allowed. Government should take the process up and ensure the people do not deal with the touts.
THOUGH the VIO boss revealed that reports have shown that in the last three weeks of the ‘Operation Show Your Driver’s License,’ the number of road users applying for licenses have increased, we advise intending applicants to follow due process as the VIO office. We believe that any driver who obtained driving license by proxy from any State or Federal agent without being tested and certified competent to drive on Nigerian roads are issued fake driving licenses and thus need to authenticate them now.

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