Motorists Allege Hoarding Of Number Plates, Extortion

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There is uproar in some parts of the country and particularly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as motorists are alleging that Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) otherwise known as Department of Road Traffic Serves (DRTS) are clamping down on car owners without number plates, as well as motorists driving vehicles with faded number plates. 

While some motorists have accused the VIO of creating artificial number plates scarcity to boost extortion of car owners willing to do the needful, others who are concerned about the security of their vehicles have insisted that the federal government cannot be exonerated from the abnormality.

Some private car owners who confided in LEADERSHIP Sunday said the office of the director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services, deliberately created what they termed as artificial scarcity to boost their trade classified as “premium and express” number plates at the range of between N126,000 and above as against the official N56,000 price.

While calling on the government to take a critical look at the quality control and production mechanism of the number plates, the road users revealed that aside the exposure of their cars to criminals, Vehicle Inspection Officers and the police, who often mount checkpoints to verify vehicle documents, now feast on motorists, especially owners of private cars without number plates as well as those with faded ones, by either issuing them a fine or extorting them, which is using followed with the additional instruction to go process the now scarce number plate.

The motorists who expressed concern about the security situation in the country said they were scared of driving unregistered vehicles without affixed identification numbers in the prescribed manner.

A motorist who pleaded anonymity said, “I want to create awareness that the VIO is sabotaging the government. At present, buying a car is one thing, getting it registered is another battle. I have been trying for the past one month to register my car. Despite announcing two weeks ago that they just brought 1,600 number plates, Nigerians still cannot have access to this vital security item. They offered to help me get one at N120,000 but I protested.

“We are aware that the purpose of using number plates is for proper identification and security as it is personalised for each vehicle. We do not want to be arrested and tagged as defaulters. We are willing to cooperate with the federal government to strengthen the security architecture already in place. 

Mr. Peter Iko said it was cruel that rather than serve the people, some agencies who live on taxpayers’ money are not living up to expectations as they tend to utilise  any available opportunity to extort.

Another motorist, Uzuorka Ejike, told our correspondent that he parted with N25,000 because the officer who arrested him warned him that should his vehicle get to their yard at Area 1, it would not be released until he pays a fine of over N35, 000. He appealed that vehicle number plates should be made to last so that there won’t be any need for a change except in the case of damage.


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