Metro

Stay off roads, FRSC warns unlicensed motorcycle operators in South West

Unlicenced motorcycles operators and owners of the unregistered motorcycles across the South-West zone of Nigeria will have to contend with the road safety agencies, if they continue to flout the registration regulations.

A survey carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Ilorin, Osogbo, Abeokuta and Akure revealed that road safety agencies were ready to ensure strict compliance with all the required licencing policies.

In separate interviews, they spoke on their efforts at enlightening motorcycle operators to do the needful, as those they described as “incorrigible offenders” would not be spared.

In Oyo, Mrs Uche Chukwurah, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander, says the command is aware that most motorcycle riders don’t have driver’s licences.

Chukwurah said that officials of the corps had always been checking and impounding motorcycles as ways of enforcing obtainance of all the required licences.

According to her, the command is planning to embark on a massive special operation, in collaboration with other sister security agencies, to apprehend motorcyclr operators without rider’s licence.

She, therefore, called on them to do the needful before the commencement of the special operation in order to avoid being arrested.

Similarly, the FRSC Sector Commander in Kwara, Corps Commander Jonathan Owoade, said that unlicenced motorcycles were not meant to be on Nigerian roads.

To ensure compliance, Owoade said that FRSC in Kwara had constantly engaged in aggressive public enlightenment and enforcement.

According to him, offenders are arrested and made to process their licences before their motorcycles were released.

“We have been arresting the motorcycle riders, because there is a provision for their licence at the National Road Traffic Regulation (NRTR).

“We arrest them on our normal routine patrol and when we have mobile court proceedings also.

“Apart from that, we go to their parks or unions to enlighten and sensitise them on the need to have rider’s licence.

“We have been doing this, in collaboration with the Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), to make it easier for them to be duly registered,” he said.

The road safety chief said the law states that any rider with a passenger on his or her motorcycle must have a Class ‘A’ Rider’s Licence.

“Our other sister agencies are also collaborating with FRSC in doing the needful, where necessary, to make sure that sanity is brought back to the transport sector,” Owoade said.

He, however, decried a situation, whereby, a good number of motorcycle riders feel they could not be apprehended.

“Nobody is above the law,” Owoade said.

He said the corps had also observed that some private motorcycle owners had converted their motorcycles to commercial use in order to survive the nation’s economic situation.

In Ekiti, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will never allow any unlicenced motorcycle to operate in any part of the state.

The corps’ Public Education Officer, Mr Taiwo Ojo, said the command had warned motorcycle operators, especially those operating as commercial in the state to desist from riding without valid rider’s licence.

This, Ojo said, was just as some residents had called for stiff penalty on defaulters, going by the increasing rate of accidents, majorly caused by unqualified motorcyce riders.

According to him, it is a traffic violation for anybody to ride without being deemed qualified by the FRSC through the obtainance of rider’s licence.

“In Ekiti, it is expected that before anybody can put his or her motorcycle on the roads, he or she must have obtained the Class ‘A’ Category of the Licence, also known as the Rider’s Licence.

“However, we need to clarify that the state government also designed what is known as Rider’s Permit, which is expected to serve the same purpose as the Rider’s Licence, issued by the Federal Government.

“Therefore, a motorcyclist in Ekiti can either present the Rider’s Licence issued by FRSC or the Rider’s Permit by the state government to our officers during routine checks,” Ojo said.

Also, the Head of FRSC Licence Unit in Ekiti, Mrs Mariam Abu, warned that riding on the highways without a valid rider’s permit or licence was a punishable offence.

According to Abu, motorcyce operators have a choice of picking up a three-year or a five-year validity licence for different classes at N10,350 and N15,550 respectively.

Commenting, a commercial motorcycle commuter, Mrs Folajemi Jinadu, said that government and its relevant agencies must do something urgently to check incessant accidents being caused by riders without licences.

In his reactions, Mr Paul Okpe, the FRSC Sector Commander in Osun, said the command always met out punishment on owners of unlicenced motorcyclists in the state.

Okpe, who spoke through the Route Commander, Mr Joseph Olusola, said the command has been arresting the motorcycle operators plying the highways without licences or permits.

“When we make our arrests, we ensure motorcycle owners follow the due process of being licensed as well as getting rider’s permits,” he said.

Okpe, however, said officers of the command regularly visit motorcycle parks to enlighthen commercial riders on the dangers of not having their motorcycles licenced.

According to him, any motorcyclist, whether private or commercial, caught without a licence risks jail terms.

He, however, said that the conserted efforts of stakeholders had helped to reduce the menace of unlicensed motorcycles, especially in Osogbo, the state capital.

In Ogun, the state Traffic Manager, Traffic Road Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), also identified unlicenced operators as growing road safety concern to members of the public.

Its Public Relations Officer, Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi,
said unlicenced operators constituted a greater percentage to motorcycle crashes on the roads.

“Many of them cannot obtain licence, because they failed to submit themselves for the necessary training required to get the licence.

“They are predominantly young people, who lacked riding experience and usually engage in risky riding,” Akinbiyi said.

However, as part of the measures meant to curb the menace, the state government, he said, recently launched the Commercial Motorcycle Riders Identification Scheme (COMORIS).

“The scheme has so far registered and regularised over 20,000 operators in the state, and we are still counting.

“‘After the registration, the motorcyclists are normally given reflective security jackets with specific identification number that also bear the name of the local government in which they are operating for easy identification and apprehension in case of traffic infraction.

“The aim of the scheme is to register all commercial motorcycle riders in the state.

“This is to check the negative attitude of some of them and also separate the genuine ones from those who use it to perpetrate crime,” Akinbiyi said.

He said TRACE had, however, continued to apprehend unlicenced riders, notwithstanding the ongoing scheme.

Similarly, Mr Ahmed Umar, FRSC Sector Commander in Ogun, said the corps would continue to apprehend unlicenced motorcycles, especially the commercial riders.

Umar said that the impounded motorcycles would be kept until the owners produced valid licences.

“We are doing this, in conjunction with the police and other security agencies, and it has reduced the numbers of unlicenced motorcycles on the roads,” he said.

Umar, however, urged riders to visit FRSC Driver’s Licence Centres closest to them to obtain proper documents to prevent being arrested by law enforcement agencies.

He explained that continued advocacy, enlightenment campaign and collaboration with motorcycle unions in the state would go a long way to curbing the menace.

In Ondo State, the FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Ezekiel SonAllah, says his command and other security agencies are working to checkmate the rate of unlicenced motorcycles plying the roads.

SonAllah said that the command had taken it upon itself to sensitise motorcycle riders on the dangers of plying the roads without registering their motorcycles.

“If a vehicle or motorcycle is not registered, it is a disadvantage to the owner, because if it’s stolen, it will be hard to recover it.

“Moreover, it can be used to perpetrate crime, which is more dangerous in the society.

“Our officers and personnel have been going round the state to sensitise groups of riders and to talk to them on the dangers of not registering their motorcycles.

“It has become imperative for motorcycles, especially commercial ones, to be registered before plying the highway. Moreso, riders must obey traffic rules and regulations.

“So, on our part, we will continue to partner with other security agencies to clamp down on anyone found disobeying road regulations,” he said.

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