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‘Terrorist’ nature of Lagos VIOs forced Ambode to flush them out for retraining–Survey

More details have emerged on why the Lagos State Government has ordered the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) to leave Lagos roads with immediate effect.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode handed down the directive on Monday based on surging barrage of public complaints on the terror-styled model of vehicle inspection and incessant impounding of private vehicles without recourse to laid down regulations and common humanity.

Though a credible government source hinted the governor ordered the VIOs out of the road in a bid to reposition the outfit, a recent report in the media revealing how the operatives burnt the vehicle of a motorist arrested may have not gone down well with the governor who has a history of zero tolerance to unruliness in his administration.

Some of the leading complaints against the troubled agency include high-handedness and over-zealousness of VIOs on the road

Business Hilights gathered during investigations at Mile 2 Command on Monday that the way and manner they structured their operations have a resemblance of terrorist camp and detention extortionist camp for captured motorists.

A Taxi driver, based in Mile 2 who pleaded anonymity revealed their Modus Operandi to our correspondent.

He said in parts that: “First of all, if they want to stop your car, they will force either one or two vehicles ahead of you to stop so that you will be forced to stop as if they have been targeting you and this will first of all, give an impression that you are hated or targeted”.

Gov Ambode
Lagos State Govrernor, Akinwunmi Ambode

“Their main target of milking every motorist is fake Divers’ Licence and vehicles particulars renewal. No matter how genuine your licence and particulars are, they must tell you that it is fake and when people with real originals face such embarrassment, it will snowball from hot argument to fighting.

“They are not well trained to use FRSC portal to confirm licences. They only use their desecration to either reject or confirm the originality of ones drivers’ licence and many of the times, they are faulty.

“This is always the cause of the fight between them and motorists and they can detain you if you fail to go and settle some agbero they planted in a distance to be collecting bribe for them. That is the only job for the boys and the boys fight daily to be on duty for the bribe collection.

“They planned it in a way you cannot easily link the boys to the VIOs on duty.

Now, if you stand your ground that your licence is genuine, they will push you out of your car, jump in and drive it in an annoying manner, spoiling anything spoilable to their park inside the Mile 2. Let me tell you. Am a Taxi driver with over 10 years experience, what they do here is what they do everywhere in Lagos

“Immediately your car gets into that place, your day is gone because they will deflate all your tyres, give you offence charge receipt and tell you to approach any of the partnering banks to pay and when you get to the bank, the casher will tell you that VIOs payment portal does not open so go to another bank.

You will continue to be rejected by all banks till the day is gone.

“However, if finally you were lucky at one of the banks and pay successfully, when you come back, you have to get Tax clearance from another office attached to them.

When you are through, at the Tax clearance office, you will have to go to their Oga’s office to get a final clearance to get your car.

“There, if you fail to ‘settle’, all the efforts you have made going to pay at the bank are useless.

It’s horrible.

If you settle the Oga through another well structured front, you will be given a ticket to carry your car.

VIO on duty in lagos

“At this point, you have entered another voice mail. You will pay another money without receipt to carry your car and the standby Vulcanizer who is part of the terror architecture will charge not less than N500 instead of N100 for each tyre.

“You can be able to pass through all these process if you a humble and low tempered person and that is why there is fight everyday in virtually all VIOs office in Lagos.

“They do not check Danfo buses because their union ‘settles’ their Oga every month,” the taxi driver summed up in anger.

“They are fund of stopping only flashy cars and haulage buses and these are motorists that can give them bribe with ease and go their ways but some of them may decide to drag for their rights and this is how it lands in breaking of windscreens and bloody fights.

He called on the state government to train the officers on the best human relations and public approach standards to stop fights always.

He said aside, training and retraining, “many of them are too old for the job. If you meet, let’s say six VIOs, not less than four or five among them are over 50 years and that means they are within the age of training their children. They need this bribe to augment their salaries but at the detriment of the state’s image.

“They also have hot arguments with the car owners especially if he or she is carrying an Army man or Policeman because such officers are always aggrieved observing the terror networks of the VIOs and the anger in their faces for being in a vehicle they stopped.

Already, a confident source at the Lagos State Ministry of Transport said “In fact, apart from some reports bordering on corruption and fighting, the main aim of government to suspend their operations is to retrain them in line with the mega city terms and conditions”.

“They will all undergo serious training and retaining and bad eggs among them will be shown the way out in the planned reformation of the department,” he said.

The officer’s comments confirmed the official reaction of the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, who said that “The truth is the transport ministry is undergoing restructuring, including the VIO. The commissioner for transportation had made some recommendations, which he will present at the State Executive Council meeting and things can move forward from there”.

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