The Rigors of Obtaining a Certificate of Road Worthiness in Lagos

CHINYERE NWOKOLO Written by CHINYERE · 1 min read >

Over the years, what it takes to legitimately drive a vehicle in Lagos, are valid vehicle particulars that include a Roadworthiness Certificate (RWC), obtained from the Lagos State licensing offices across the state. The document is meant to indicate that a vehicle had passed all the criteria required to be on the road as regards safety and all its measures.

With this, drivers should be free from the undue highhandedness of Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs).

Sometime in January 2022, the Lagos state government introduced a ‘No Vehicle Inspection, No Road Worthiness Certificate’ Policy. The implication of this new policy is that it has now become mandatory for individuals to take their vehicles for physical inspection at designated VIS centres, as a pre-requisite to being issued what many consider a roadworthiness certificate. The process is that once a motorist pays for roadworthiness, a referral is issued which is what would be tendered at any of the automated VIS centres. After a vehicle is scanned and faults are detected, a report indicating the repairs to be carried out would be issued, after which the vehicle is expected to brought back for re-inspection. A Roadworthiness certificate is then issued to vehicles who pass this test.

This directive elicited wide outcry and condemnation, with many describing it as ill-advised and a platform to further embolden an already corrupt system.

At first, I was excited about this new policy as I believed it should help limit the number of “unworthy” vehicles plying our roads. My excitement was however short-lived after paying a visit to one of the VIS centres.

Going into that inspection centre, the first thing that hit me was “why process implementation has to be a hassle in this part of the world? Like, must everything be a struggle?” like who did we offend?

Can someone help me understand why motorists need to be at a Vehicle Inspection Centre as early as 7am? To put this in perspective, we go to the centre at about 9 am and the tag number issued was #70.  Ha! as if to say that was not enough, the Officers began a row call and verification of credentials and all of that.

I did a quick scan of the vehicles that were awaiting inspection and certification, and I observed that they were mostly private and very recent model vehicles. At that point, I had to ask someone if commercial vehicles where exempt. Like there was no single commercial vehicle awaiting inspection.

I was also wondering where all those vehicles that move in a ‘one-sided manner” and emit exhaust fumes all over the place obtain their own certificate of roadworthiness.

The more confusing part of the whole process is that a brand-new vehicle needed to visit the inspection center yearly for a physical inspection and re-certification.

In all of this, my immediate thoughts are:

  • The policy needs to be updated to reflect learnings from the 1st year pilot
  • The age of a vehicle should be taken into consideration in re-certification (e.g., there is no need for a brand-new vehicle to go for an annual inspection).
  • Commercial vehicles should not be exempt from the inspection and certification process.  This should be enforced.

Just my 2- cents!

#MEMBA11 #PolicyImprovement #Roadworthiness

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