Motorists are reacting to stoppage of VIOs on Lagos roads. The drivers, who lament heavy fines levied on them each time they were arrested by the vehicle inspection officials, laud the move made by the state government.
In this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, commercial bus drivers reveal what they have passed through in the hands of the VIOs, the offences they were arrested for and how much fine they pay each time they are arrested…
‘I am so glad they are off the roads of Lagos state now’ – ADEWALE OLUWASEGUN
I would not condemn the official duty of the VIOs if only they did it the way it ought to be done. Agreed, what they always arrest us for are things that must be done. Like if we don’t use seat belt, which is not safe for the driver.
They also arrest drivers with broken windscreen, which I think they have the right to do. These two examples of mine are understandable; they have the right to bring drivers to order. But in a situation where they arrest somebody for unnecessary offence and still ask the person to pay huge fines, it is not right.
They should help the drivers to do the right things, not impose unnecessary fines. They can ask you to pay fine of N20,000, N30,000, N40,000 or even more for a minor issue, which is very bad. I am so glad they are off the roads of Lagos state now. At least, motorists will be relieved with their evacuation.
‘I am impressed with the move from Lagos state government’ – ISAAC BABATUNDE
I won’t deceive you, I am impressed with the move from Lagos state government. The VIOs are more than a curse for motorists. Once you are caught by them, even if you are innocent of the charge levied against you, your vehicle won’t be released until you have paid a fine. And if you don’t have money, your vehicle will remain with them.
They will arrest you for baseless offences, impound your vehicle and still impose heavy fines on you. I understand that the government was only trying to put things right by establishing the Vehicle Inspection Officials, but their excesses in the cause of carrying out their duty is just unbearable. We thank Lagos state government for coming to our rescue.
‘God will continue to bless Ambode for the move’ – ELEGUSHI WASIU
I am happy with the bold step taken by the state government, God will continue to bless Lagos state. The situation of the country is tiring already, we don’t need any official or body to further add to our headache. Some of us are graduates, but since there is no job in the country, that is why we are here.
So, why would someone be harassing us over things that are not meant to be? If they (VIOs) come here now, all the drivers will start running helter skelter, because they will make sure they arrest people even with the smallest offence.
‘I would say that the VIO’s are only doing what they are assigned to do’ – AJULO SAMUEL
I would say that the VIO’s are only doing what they are assigned to do. They have caught me about two times which I have myself to blame for. For me, I believe if I can’t get my vehicle repaired, to be in good shape, I think its better I just park it somewhere at home.
I do not criticize or see to what they do but they ought to play the role of helper not create problems for us. The government should create a kind of trust fund which drivers can assess to help them when their vehicles are due for repairs.
‘The VIO’s are not the only problem we drivers have…’ – OLATUNJI ADEDAYO
The VIO’s are not the only problem we drivers have, but I am glad they are off the road now. The VIO’s should not be working for the pocket of the government alone, they should favour the drivers as well. I do not support some of the reasons they give for arresting us most of the time.
For instance, I believe Nigeria is one, they should not try to divide it. How could we be using two driving licenses in a state? When we have a federal driving license, what do we need Lagos state driving licence for? I am talking about Lagos State Drivers Institute licence (LASDRI).
What if other states decide to imitate Lagos state? That means I will need nothing less than 13 driver’s licences if I am travelling to Kaduna state and 37 drivers license to travel around Nigeria. I don’t recognize LASDRI because the federal road safety officials don’t even ask for it. If the VIO’s arrest you for LASDRI offence, the fine is not specific, they just write whatever they like for you. I paid a fine of N48,000 when I was arrested and they didn’t still release my bus. I used connection to retrieve the bus, I went through a politician, even after paying the fine.
‘VIO trouble motorists a lot and they are unforgiving once they arrest you’ – AJAYI ILESANMI
No driver will tell you he feels bad now that VIO’s are off the road in Lagos state. That’s because they trouble motorists a lot and they are unforgiving once they arrest you. Imagine somebody paying N10,000 because he didn’t use seat belt. A lady was arrested one day because her windscreen cracked on one side, not that it got broken. If not that her elder brother was a lawyer, they would have asked her to pay crazy fine, the way they do to commercial bus drivers.
They just write any amount they want. A friend of mine was asked to pay N56,000 because he didn’t have LASDRI licence and LASDRI itself is just N3,000. You can see it is crazy. They should leave the road for us and remain in their office.
‘Agberos are the major problem not VIO’ – FATAI WAHAB
The VIO’s are not the major problems of the commercial bus drivers. The Lagos state government should bring the VIO back and take the Agberos (union) away. They are our major headache, they victimize us all the time. I don’t have problems with the VIO’s, my bus is in good shape and my papers are intact. My major concern is the union, they should leave the garage for us.
‘As much as I do not support the VIOs, I also do not like the fact that they are off the road now’ – GANIU IBRAHIM
As much as I do not support the VIOs, I also do not like the fact that they are off the road now. The truth be told, if not for this VIOs, some of us[drivers] are not ready to spend a penny to put their vehicles in shape, they are not ready to acquire the necessary papers to enable them ply the road, which is very bad.
If not for these officials, most of our vehicles will be rickety. The only thing they do which we do not like is that they do not have list for their fines. With every offence, there has to be a penalty. Let such penalty be specific, let it be written. So I will know if I am not using seat belt, this is how much I am to pay. Not that you will just write whatever amount you want for me.
– AZEEZAT KAREEM and SHUKURAT ALIMI