Scores of car owners sweated under the Friday noon sun as they awaited their turns to have their vehicles inspected at the Lagos Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) headquarters at Ojodu.
The motorists, mostly private car owners, criticized the new system of having to physically inspect their vehicles before obtaining their roadworthiness certificates.
Around 1:00 p.m. on Friday, when we visited the VIS test centre in the Ojudu area of Lagos to observe the process of the physical inspection. Over a hundred road users were seen waiting for their vehicles to be inspected under the scorching sun.
Many of them were also seen lamenting the tedious process of the physical inspection of their vehicles. Some of them claimed that they had been trying to get their vehicles inspected for over a week, noting that they might not meet up with the 30-day deadline issued by the service.
Philip Jakpor, a car owner, told PREMIUM TIMES that he arrived at the test centre at 6:00 a.m. but his vehicle was not inspected until six hours later. He said he left over a hundred other vehicles behind.
“You can imagine someone coming now will not be attended to until five or six hours later,” Mr Jakpor said. “It’s frustrating. Some of the people said they have been coming here for the past one week but they have not inspected their vehicles.”
Several motorists interviewed by this reporter corroborated Mr Jakpor’s position. Many of them said they had no assurance that their vehicles would be inspected, despite arriving at the centre as early as 5:00 a.m.
Another car owner, a septuagenarian who preferred not to be named, was seen speaking to her relative on the phone, stating how she had languished under the scorching sun, despite arriving earlier than expected.
The woman accused the officials of favouritism, noting that some vehicle owners who came after her were given attention “because they came in with big cars”.
Other motorists waiting around for inspection of their vehicles nodded in affirmation when asked to confirm the woman’s claims.
The Physical Vehicle Inspection Policy
In December 2021, the Lagos Directorate of Vehicle Inspection Service (DVIS) ordered that roadworthiness certificates would no longer be issued to road users not physically present for the inspection of their vehicles.
Effective from January 1, 2022, the DVIS urged road users to visits test centres in Lagos for the inspection of their vehicles.
“Only vehicles inspected at the Lagos computerised vehicle inspection test centres will be issued roadworthiness certificates,” the agency had said. “Roadworthiness certificates will no longer be issued by proxy or through third parties. “All vehicles must comply with the minimum safety standards to get the certificates.”
The Lagos Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, had told reporters that the new policy was necessary to make the road safe for all users.
“No one would be able to obtain roadworthiness certificate anywhere in the state without the Vehicle Inspection Service (LACVIS) certifying such vehicles roadworthy,” Mr Oladeinde said, noting that motorists who failed to have their vehicles repaired within the grace period would have to process another roadworthiness certificate to enjoy the 30 days grace.
27 Centres Inspecting Over 5million Vehicles
However, one of the VIS officials facilitating inspections at the Ojodu test centre, Shefiu Ganiu, claimed that over 150 vehicles are inspected on daily basis.
According to Mr Ganiu, only 53 vehicles had been inspected as of 1:00 p.m. when he spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday. He noted that over a hundred more vehicles would be inspected before the close of work.
He noted that motorists are encouraged to get their vehicles inspected at test centres nearest to their locations and argued that no vehicle is compelled to come to the state headquarters for that purpose.
“When these vehicles come, we give them tag numbers and ask them to wait for their turn to be verified,” he said. “Some of the motorists are impatient but we have to be patient with them. Many of them do not know that they can get their vehicles inspected at the nearest test centres to them.”
The VIS official also lamented that commercial drivers have failed to comply with the new physical inspection policy.
“We’ve only been seeing private car owners. Commercial drivers are not complying but we know what to do about that,” he said.
There are over five million cars and 200,000 commercial vehicles on the roads of Lagos, according to the state government’s official website.
A copy of the handbill issued to motorists by the VIS officials revealed that there are only 27 test centres available for the physical inspections of over five million vehicles in the state.
Some car owners wondered why only private vehicles were singled out in the policy while the commercial ones, including the Danfo buses – the rickety commercial buses across the state – were not included for inspection by the officials.
When contacted, a director at the DVIS, Fasola Akin, said he was not permitted to comment on the matter.