“We need to hold that car, investigate how it entered into the country without going through the normal process.”
President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to eliminate fake custom registration papers by impounding imported cars without genuine customs clearance.
The directive was given at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday when the Corps-Marshal of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka, presented an update on Nigeria’s status on the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020).
Briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa after the Council meeting, Mr. Chidoka said the directive would speed up the accumulation of reliable database on cars plying Nigerian roads.
“People come to us and present their custom duty papers that they have paid for it and we register. But now we are no longer taking that paper, we are now linked with the custom clearance platform. So the data of all the cars that have validly entered into the country through the customs system is already domiciled in our system.
“So when we enter your chasis number and that car does not come up into the system, then we have to get you to get genuine customs papers because what they carry are fake papers,” he said.
Mr. Chidoka said the FRSC has been able to do something similar for the insurance industry.
“If you notice now if you register your car with the new number they will tell you to bring your e-policy because all the insurance companies are required to update their policy to a database while we verify it.
“So any car that carries the new number plate, that goes through registration, has valid insurance. That is what we want to do with the customs license. Initially our plan was when we see you we ask you to go back to customs; but with the feedback from Mr. President today, that is not enough.
“We need to hold that car, investigate how it entered into the country without going through the normal process. So we will modify the process to include the customs in that process,” he said.
Mr. Chidoka said the ECOWAS Regional Vehicle Identification Scheme has adopted Nigeria’s FRSC model of operation while Ghana and Sierra Leone have asked for Nigeria’s assistance in improving their own road safety management.
The Corps Marshal, who said the corps was determined to make Nigerian roads one of the 20 safest in the world by year 2020, added that the UN Decade of Action was declared following global statistics that road accidents were killing about 1.3 million persons every year, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.
Highlighting his achievements since assumption of office in 2007, Mr. Chidoka noted that the corps’ personnel has increased from 11,000 to 19,000 while patrol vehicles increased from 170 to over 800 and ambulances from 10 to 52; as well as more call centres and increased funding of the FRSC.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan was decorated as the Grand Patron of the Special Marshals Unit of the FRSC, which is the first time a sitting Nigerian President is receiving such an investiture.
The Information Minister, Labaran Maku, said FEC also received a presentation from the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, on the ministry’s performance so far.
He noted that the presentation showed that the education ministry was able to improve access to education, greater funding and more investment in education sector; as well as improved facilities and infrastructure in primary and tertiary institutions.