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Namicit Nanshall: Park! Pull Over!!!

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I got to the bus-stop one lovely morning and was greeted by a large crowd, I joined the crowd wondering where all the commercial vehicles were, a warm smile crossed my face as I spotted an empty bus approaching and I braced myself for the inevitable battle that will unfold once the bus stops. Oh, was I wrong! The bus got closer and I noticed it had leaves on it; the conductor was waving a placard that read:
No Road Safety!!!
No VIO!!!
No Police!!!

The bus drivers were protesting over the incessant harassment by the aforementioned authorities. All commuters therefore, had to get into town using cabs. On coming to this realization, I once again braced myself (phone goes in the bag, handbag properly zipped, handbag hanging on my shoulder and pressed firmly underneath my armpit) and when the next cab arrived, I was able to secure a sit sandwiched between some people more corpulent than myself, but glad to be on my way to the office.

We drove off silently, each passenger minding his own business, till we approached the next bus stop. We saw VIO (Vehicle Inspection Office) officials ahead, one of them stepped right in front of the cab and flagged down the driver. The driver actually slowed down but later accelerated and zoomed off. The VIO official was quick to dive out of the road, but not before he smashed the side mirror of the car.

The passengers had varying reactions; some applauded the drivers Knight Rider moves, while others criticized him for not obeying the law. The driver, in his own defense, explained that he had a cracked windshield which would be used against him. He bragged about how he never stops for VIO because they will not fail to find fault with anyone.

After putting up such a strong argument, he won the hearts of a few passengers, they agreed with him and some of them shared their experiences with the “passenger audience”

Passenger 1:
Road Safety na the worse oh! E no go beta for them. I just chop finish na I’m person call me to come collect message from the next street, na so I jump enter moto dey go, as I just chop now, d belle big and I no wan press am with belt, as I turn corner see the people park for there, in fact eh, make I no talk plenty but N2500 leave my hand that day.

Me:
(Thinking to myself), why did you not just walk to the next street, it would have helped the big tummy a lot.

Passenger 2:
Driver, your vehicle is in a much better condition than VIO’s vehicle, most of their vehicles are worn out and yet they stop others.

Passenger 3:
Police, VIO, Road Safety are all same, they are only after your money.
Me:
I’ll alight at the next junction

I alighted and hobbled into my office.

That evening, on my way back from work, my cab came across Road Safety officials at a Strategic location, just as the car took a sharp bend, the driver panicked, but there was no escape. One of the FRSC guy screamed, Park! In a stentorian voice, the driver pulled over and they demanded to see the his papers. The driver mumbled some things in a shaky voice which I could not catch on and they let him go. A curious passenger asked him how he was so easily let off the hook and he explained that he showed them his police ID.

He boasted that he has been driving for seven years with neither license nor papers and has no plans of processing them, Road Safety and VIO are thieves and he would not give them the pleasure of ripping him off.

Someone asked, “what of police that demand for money from drivers at every check-point are they not thieves?’’ The driver said that not all Police men behaved that way. He, for instance, was a righteous Police Man whose job description involves normal activities of protection of life and property.
Alright oh! We yaf hear, Officer Righteous!

Getting home that evening, I decided to research on the functions of the Road Safety, Police and VIO, I really wanted to know if they had the right to disturb people at every junction and hidden corner. I came to realize that when it comes to maintaining traffic laws and the likes, their functions, are interwoven and I would just highlight a few here:

Federal Road Safety Commission:- Prevents and minimizes road traffic crashes, clearing obstruction on the highway, educate road users on the proper use of highways, enforce speed limits, enforcing the regulation of road traffic laws.

Vehicle Inspection Officers: – Testing and inspecting vehicles for road worthiness/certification, test vehicles involved in road crashes, conducting of periodic road checks on vehicles, traffic management, monitoring and control, testing applicants for Driver’s License.

Police: – Righteously serving and protecting with integrity, including all the nitty-gritty of such service and protection.

These bodies were put in place for the Safety and protection of Road users. They actually have the right to stop drivers for periodic checks and ensure safety and all that, although the various offices must have been abused by the officers at one time or the other.

My take on this issue is that safety is for YOU! Safety First! So in line with that, we should always ensure that our cars are in good working condition and maintain all traffic rules, that way, we would less likely be harassed by any road traffic official and even if we are, we can confidently defend our rights.

What’s your take on this issue?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Andreblais

Namicit Nanshall is a Computer Scientist who is still trying to find her feet in the profession, she works as a Data Processing Officer in an establishment that has little or no Data to process. She loves reading and sleeping but unfortunately she is yet to grow fat. [email protected]

22 Comments

  1. missy

    October 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Na wa for Mr righteous police officer o!
    I get to deal with Nigerian police where I work and they never seize to amaze me! Make I no even start with their matter abeg.
    I guess many of them do not know their resposibities plus we leave in a country where alot is taken for granted, so you get to see so many wrong things under the cover of the job.
    I would actually like to here their side of the story. Anyone in the house?

    • Shakojiya

      October 10, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      @Missy, the word is “cease” and “Live”

  2. ElessarisEllendil

    October 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Nigeria loves duplicating functions, I’m sure our governments day-dream about which functions to duplicate next.

    Our roads are frightening! between people that don’t realise seat-belts can be the difference between life and death and officials that let one of their own go regardless of the rules they’re breaking, the Israelites had it easy choosing between the devil and the Red sea.

  3. The real D

    October 8, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Omg!!! I almost got a migraine reading their roles. Really???? That’s why people are comfortable abusing power, I.e when roles and responsibilities are not clear, if police can stop you to check for all of the above then there is NO need for any VIO or Road Safety. None what so ever. Especially since they can never agree on a particular rule, like the issue of temporary driver’s license. VIO has their own rule, Road Safety their own and the cops will tell you the license issued by the other mentioned offices are of no use to them.
    If the VIO is concerned with vehicle inspection then they should sit in the office, hire mechanics or certify different mechanic locations to handle inspection and then hire paper pushers in the office to issue inspection slips, no extra needed.
    As for road safety if there work like their name states is to ensure our roads are safe, they should have no interaction with drivers other than reporting culprits to the cops.
    Cops should be and are trained to check and perform random checking and they ask for the same things, so really no need to have any additional source of harassment on roads.
    It is beyond ridiculous what we see on our roads, the last time I was home, my mum worked in a government parastatal and her official vehicle had all its papers should, and all were presented at a “righteous police check point”. This cop told us he would shoot at us should we leave without “settling” them although everything was presented. Now when your life and the lives of your loved ones are at risk, what rights do you start defending. I mean dead men have no way of defending any rights. Now, many of these officials really don’t care about their actual roles, they are only out their to extort money from citizens.

  4. Ides of March

    October 8, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Namicit! Your last name reminded me of my late uncle, that was his name. I like your articles and i just wanted to say hello to a fellow Taroh sister, kang kang ro? 🙂

    • milli

      October 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Kang Kang ki sham

    • milli

      October 9, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Kan Kan ki sham

    • Namicit Nanshall

      October 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Ah, ikang kang

  5. missappleberry

    October 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

    My own experience with FRSC workers was at that berger express just before diverting to ziatech rd. The guy stopped me and asked me for my particulars. I brought it all out and gave them to him. After scrutinizing for a few minutes, he says there is one that he didn’t think could be used in Lagos because it was processed in Edo state. That he was going to ask his boss if it was ok. I started wondering if Edo state was outside Nigeria…abi is FRSC in Lagos not same as the one in benin? :s I waited for another 10 mins for him to run to and fro his boss, and when he came back, he says his boss says its same with the one used in lagos, despite the different states. And then he goes through my license, and asked that was i present at the office when it was done. How was it done? I wanted to burst in laughter and reply…no, you were the one present at the office when it was done. Mumu! lol…but i held myself. And then he hands me all my particulars and says he can’t believe all of them are complete and he does not have anyway to hold or delay me. Then he says, infact, oya match your brake make we see if your light de work. I did that and it worked. He asked “where is your fire extinguisher and triangle?”. I showed him and he is like…wow! he can’t believe his eyes. Lol. And that where do i work, he wants to be my friend and that their office is just closeby, i could stop by each time on my way…and then he allowed me go. Smh.
    Another thing that bothers me again is how some commercial drivers do not understand using their seat belt is for their own safety. I have been in a bus where the driver didn’t use his until he sighted FRSC workers from afar and then he quickly tied it round himself like wrapper, and asked those in front by his side to do the same. After he passed the road safety guys, he immediately unbuckles his seatbelt and it got me wondering…is seat belt buckled because of road safety guys or its for your own safety? Most people don’t really know the importance of some of these things. I think asides the roles stated in this article of the various jobs of VIO, FRSC, Police etc…another should be added like educating the public. Not only enforcing laws and finding ways to punish people when they don’t carry out this laws. They should also educate the public on the importance and why some of the laws are good to ensure their safety. In terms of education still, most Nigerian Drivers still do not understand road signs. One of such is Zebra crossing. Ever tried using zebra crossing in Naija, BN commenters…if you survived , please share your stories.

    • Bobonkiti

      October 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Missappleberry all I can say is cry my beloved country. Zebra crossing? Im a regular visitor to Jos University Teaching Hospital. The management put up two Zebra crossings at a busy part of the hospital. Whoever is looking for quick way to die should go stand at that point. Too bad even the workers there many of who are educated has no regard for the Zebra crossing there. If however a dog stands there they will stop but not a human being.

  6. Pheee

    October 9, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Every time I encounter them on the road, be it road safety or vio and sometimes police I get stopped, the only time I am allowed to pass freely is if I have my dad or mum in the car with me, usually in the front seat, or when I have a random male sitting in the front seat. I got so pissed off with always being stopped, so one day I asked what the problem was, I honestly wanted to know why I was singled out all the time, you wouldn’t believe the answer the idiot gave me, I was about 25 at this time, he goes ‘see small girl like you driving a jeep, how we no go dey stop you’. To say I was shocked is putting it lightly. Since that day I make sure I have all my paper up to date and complete, my fire extinguisher, spare tyre and my hazard triangle. One of them has made it a point of duty to stop me on my way to work every time he is on the road. So these days when they stop me I rain down all the curses I know on them and when my friend’s tell me I’m being too harsh on them, I asked them to try being stereotyped by a two bit officer who doesn’t know how to do his job and come talk to me about being harsh.

    • Edu

      October 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      lol

  7. lollly

    October 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

    heheheh..sorry o Pheee. i can imagine your plight
    I am one of the few who hardly ever gets stopped…why?
    cos i’m usually out and get to my office before ‘they’ resume and i drive back home after work when most of ‘them’ are in bed…

  8. ogechi

    October 9, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I just saw “straight outta campton” the other day and I scene stuck to my mind -when dr dre girlfriend came to see him in the recording studio uptown and the all had to go out to see him after she left, while they were talking abt the issue the police men came and started harassing them until their manager came out for spoke out for them. the bottom line is if u don’t know ur rights u will be harassed and trampled underfoot by all these pple in authority. as it is physically it is spiritually too. know ur rights as a child of God so that the devil wont take u for a ride 🙂
    stay blessed

  9. Selly

    October 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I sincerely believe these three bodies are causing more harm than good on the roads especially the police. The Nigerian police have caused hundreds of accidents because of their unprofessional way of dealing with drivers. I used to admire and respect the FRSC but these days it seems they have learnt from their brothers the police. All in all I just think every driver should have his complete papers and car requirements and always be on sit belt,this may reduce the harassment

  10. Edu

    October 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    you seemed to have forgotten the worst of them all ‘LASTMA” especially when they are with their police friends. When you are caught they behave like gods since they know you d better bribe them than pay the ridiculous exorbitant fines.
    I have been ridiculed on two occasions while attempting to avoid that crazy Apapa traffic which leaves you motionless for hours. After lodging a complaint that i used one way because tankers had blocked the road, they replied zero tolerance for one way. can i mention that parts of this same Apapa- Oshodi expressway are even at this moment constantly plied “one way” by vehicles. At the moment i was caught danfos and vehicles of service men were allowed to go scot free.
    I kept wondering where is the Justice or is justice just meant for a select few, all because i did not play ball. I have to commend some VI lastma officers though, they were more understanding when i found myself in the yellow box while in the traffic rush.
    My point is that if some people are made above the law and the law is also not fully implemented; then considerations can be made in cases like mine, while the govt ensures everything is put in place to implement the law.

  11. Ada

    October 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Go namicit, Selman personally invited me to read your article and I must say, you totally blew me away . Keep it up girl

    As for VIO or is it VIS, most Lagos cab drivers call ahead to know which particular route they’re operating at and avoid such.
    For FRSC, they cause more traffic than clear it. If you’re in doubt visit the FRSC junction along ogunnusi road towards Berger and finally, LASTMA and Police are the same just that they wear different uniform. They are their to lay traps and God helps you if you fall into it. Go to Omole estate and Allen roundabout , you go know how far. Those traffic lights there are traps.

  12. Yanmbeyanmbe

    October 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    The bottom line is fear the true God. Many make a show of singing the national anthem and reciting the pledge but they cannot obey simple traffic laws hence they are always afraid to come in contact with law enforcement agents. But those police, FRSC and the rest are what Fela called them-International thief thief. They are not doing what they are employed to do but working for their pockets

  13. Jay

    October 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I just wanted to say hi too, to a fellow Taroh sister. Ok bye.*walks away smiling*.

  14. OG Green

    October 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Can’t say it all but I’ll try. Once upon a time police men serving under the Lagos state police command stopped and extorted the then police commissioner of Lagos state and didn’t know who was, FRSC wasn’t like this before, now I don’t know which one is better police o road safety. VIO are a bunch of locals, speak their local dialect and you are off. Lemme say here that there are a few good people wearing those uniforms and when you meet them all you do is bless them and wonder, nah Nigerian police be dis?

  15. OG Green

    October 10, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    *he

  16. Keshell

    October 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    @ selly u are very correct..nice write nahm.

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