In this investigative report, a journalist from Daily Trust Saturday conducted an undercover operation to expose the collaboration between law enforcement agencies and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)-approved driving schools in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT),Daily Trust reports.
This collaboration was found to compromise the country’s driving standards and contribute to road accidents.
Concealing a recording device, the journalist roamed the streets of Abuja, aiming to test the three-part process for obtaining a driver’s license in Nigeria and to investigate how underage and unqualified individuals managed to obtain licenses.
At the first driving school visited, the journalist, posing as someone with no driving experience, inquired about obtaining a driving certificate, which is a prerequisite for a driver’s license. To their surprise, the staff at an FRSC-accredited driving school expressed their readiness to circumvent the process.
A staff member, who identified himself as Hamza, assured the journalist that they could issue the certificate despite the lack of driving experience, emphasizing that there would be no issues since the journalist had come through them.
Even employees of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), also known as Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), who are responsible for training and testing drivers before issuing licenses, offered to bypass the need for the driving school and ensure a seamless licensing process.
These findings raise concerns about the integrity of the driver’s license process and its implications for road safety. It was highlighted that Nigeria has a high rate of traffic accidents, and the human factor is a significant contributor to these accidents.
In Nigeria, the driver’s license issued by the FRSC is the only recognized document that certifies individuals to drive on the country’s roads. However, corrupt government officials were found to collude with FRSC-approved driving schools to inflate license fees and issue documents to unqualified drivers within the FCT, thus contributing to road accidents.
The process of obtaining a driver’s license involves a tripartite arrangement among designated driving schools, the Board of Internal Revenue, and the VIO. Driving schools must provide 26 training sessions, followed by a driving test conducted by the VIO, and finally, the FRSC issues the driver’s license.
The investigative report indicates that some accredited driving schools are willing to compromise the standard and issue certificates to individuals who have not undergone the proper training and testing. While the head of the FRSC National Traffic Radio expressed skepticism about accredited driving schools engaging in illegal practices, the evidence suggests otherwise.
In conclusion, the investigation has revealed flaws in the system that allow unqualified individuals to obtain driver’s licenses, posing a significant risk to road safety. The findings highlight the need for greater oversight and accountability in the process of obtaining driver’s licenses in Nigeria. The DRTS has promised to investigate and take appropriate action against those involved in such activities.