The Public Relations Officer of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), FCT, Mr KK Iloduba, on Wednesday blamed the existence of fake driver’s licence and number plates on the `proxy character of Nigerians’.
Iloduba said in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that Nigerians were being issued fake licences because they preferred to `cut corners’ and avoid due process.
“The principal reason for the rampant circulation of fake driver’s licence is the proxy nature of applicants, most applicants want to get it by proxy.
“They don’t want to go through the due process and the same thing applies to the number plates.
“I have had genuine cases where politicians or aids of politicians will come and say, `my boss just took delivery of nine SUV Jeeps; we need number plates now; we are traveling with all the vehicles in the next six hours, is it possible’?
“Secondly, we have reached a point where we don’t want the motoring public to deal with officers outside our office, anymore.
“Nobody should give money to a road traffic officer to process driver’s licence or number plates or renewal of vehicle papers for him.
“This is the procedure to do it; come into the office you will meet a desk officer and you will be guided,’’ he said.
Iloduba said that the VIO was doing all within its powers to curb the menace of fake driver’s licence and number plates and bring the perpetuators of such crime to book.
He said the office had never had a case where a road traffic officer was caught red-handed in the bid to procure a fake drivers licence or a fake number plate for a motorist.
He said what the office had experienced was “ touts who always have semblance of VIO who go out to deceive people and issue out fake documents and licences’’.
The VOI spokesman said such people loitered around the VIO premises to approach people on their way to the office to ask the kind of service they wanted from the VIO and then convince them to deal with them.
He said such people had been caught and handed to the police on several occasions, adding that no VIO personnel had been caught in that act.
“I am not protecting my organisation, but the truth is that we are looking for an opportunity to make a public example of a road traffic officer who is caught issuing fake driver’s licence and fake number plates.
“And there is something that is common among these fake items; it is the content that is fake, the card itself that they print the information on, is original.
“How this people lay hands on it we don’t know, the same thing applies to the number plates, it is the forging that is fake and the numbering but the material itself is original.
“So, we encourage Nigerians to get used to due process before being issued drivers licence,’’ he said.
Iloduba also advised Nigerians to pay attention to driving and the documents that come with it, because road safety did not just start from the road but from the process of obtaining the driving documents.
He also called for patience and respect for due process in the bid to acquire the driver’s licence by first attending a driving school and then being tested by VIO to ascertain one’s qualification before being issued the licence.
This, he said, was to avoid obtaining fake documents which seemed to be the order of the day.