hidi Nkwonta is the Lagos state Sector commander, Fedaral Road Safety Commission. In this revealing interview, he talks about the reason behind the implementation of BCMR, the new drivers’ licence, national identification card project and other related issues.

Read on…

Are you working with the Police force on the new BCMR implementation?

We work together with law enforcement agency both the federal and state law enforcement agency especially the traffic related ones.

Chidi Nkwonta, Lagos Sector commander FRSC
Chidi Nkwonta, Lagos Sector commander FRSC

But when policies are formulated, management policies; they don’t invite us, but if it is a policy that will eventually appeal to general public; at the time of implementation they will involve us.

But as for the BCMR; we do not know anything about it; we are not involved in it as we have not be briefed; but l am sure that at the corporate level they must be discussing it;  and when the time is right we shall be told about it.

Sir l understand that you haven’t been briefed, but what do you think is the rational behind BCMR?

Like my chief executive said when he was addressing the press the last time. We are confident about the police as they are law abiding agency under the government; we know that the police will not act outside the government; the police cannot act outside the law.

Whatever they do or we do; we do within the premises of law. They will involve other agencies in the implementation. But my understanding is that it is suppose to assist the police to be able to track drivers who commit crimes with their vehicles.

Is that the rational for personalizing plate numbers?

Yes, the concept of the new plate number is to tie your drivers’ licence information to your registered car data. It means if you do not have a drivers’ licence then you cannot register a car.

Our assumption is that you would have done the biometrics; the physical capture before you can obtained a drivers’ licence. The VIO would have certify that you can drive and the MVA would have collected revenue from you.

So if we have all that in a data base and then you want  to register your vehicle; all we need to do is to access your information in our data base; transport it to the totality of the new registration and save it.

This would make it easy for us to tie a vehicle to a face. When AJ256 commits an offence if you go to the data base; it will be easy to get to the culprit even if he is not the one driving the vehicle. This way security is also enhance. I am confident that the police know what they are doing.

At the end of the day; don’t you think we would be having a lot of documents and the masses would be facing extortions as there are other licences  that can serve the same purposes as this? As it is we already have international passports and all that?

No no no, it would not amount to extortion. As they don’t play the same role;  in other countries people have international pass ports, drivers’ licence and other licences that enhance the smooth running of the countries.  I need to emphasise this; drivers’ licence is not for banking or other trasactions we are using it for.

The drivers’ licence was bastardised during the rush of having a sort of identification at banks especially when the national identification didn’t go round. We are still insisting that the national identification card project is brought back so that Nigerians would know the use of the different documents in their possession; as the national identification card is meant for identification.

The drivers’ licence is meant for drivers alone. It was only used to cover a gap; everyone of them serve its own purpose. So I have the feeling that this one too, by the time it is implemented. The police is not running their own country; the national assembly is there and must have given them a go ahead in the  implementation.

Let me use the medium to correct an impression as there has been a lot of talk of the FRSC not doing their jobs; that we have abandoned our traditional function and going in for money generation.

That we are people looking for money so we are setting target.  That we are booking people and standing akimbo on the high way. All of over the world booking is an act of enforcement. We are getting to the era when we will just book the car and the numbers since we have all the information on the data base. And take the tickets to the offenders house or his office as we have all these on our data base.

That way people would stop breaking the law because they know you can trace them and the only way to trace them is the drivers’ licence.  And ultimately that would affect driving and reduce crashes. It also makes a car owner careful on whom he leaves his car with because it boils down to him at the end of the day if a problem arises. Meanwhile plate numbers is not for life; it has life span.

Check online; some countries give it citizens’ five years span – 15 years, hence plate numbers are not for life.  And it is also should be a personal possession since the information is tied to your name in the data base.

Do you think one of the reasons behind this is to make tracking offenders easier?

Yes it is so; because before now we impound vehicles and sometimes my men are beaten up or lose their lives in the course of their jobs. This would help change all that and possibly make the job easier for all of us. And make this country a safe place to live in.

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