Michael Olanrewaju, Ilorin.
A group of aggrieved insurance practitioners in Kwara State called on the State Government to call the Vehicle Inspection Officers to order accusing them of illegally usurping their role.
In a statement dated June 26, 2020 signed by their Chairman, Saliu Mohammed and Secretary, Hassan Sheu and made available to newsmen in Ilorin, the group accused the Kwara State V. I. O. of deviating from their primary assignment of making sure that motorists put their vehicles in good condition.
However, the National Public Relations Officer who is also the Chief Inspection Officer of Kwara State, Engr. Michael Bamidele denied all the accusations. According to him, it is the statutory role of the VIO to ensure that vehicles are in good order as well as genuine vehicle particulars are obtained by motorists in an era when fake papers and loss of revenue accruing to the Government is rampart. He added their activities has been aiding the reduction of accidents on the roads saying their roles has been on from historical period.
While the group alleged that the VIO’s engaged themselves in issuance of motor insurance certificates of different companies to motorists from their office, the VIO stated that it was part of their responsibility to ensure that fake insurance certificates in this era of electronic transactions are discouraged and discontinued.
However, the group further alleged various acts of corruption and fraud against the vehicle inspectors as they said, “when they stop any vehicle, they are usually concerned with the particulars rather than the state of the vehicle. If it happens that the vehicle particulars has expired, they would charge the motorist arbitrary amount above government stipulated fees for the renewal of such particulars including insurance certificate from their offices in Ilorin, the State capital.”
They also alleged that instalmental payment from motorists who could not afford to pay once is allowed. This, they do by giving their hand note to such motorists which is subject to renewal.
“Any motorist not cooperating with the arranged corrupt gratification scheme would have his vehicle confiscated and impounded and made to pay illegal fines pending when he would be able to pay.”
The group also alleged that “the VIOs has always been contributing to the disruption of free flow of vehicles on major roads in Ilorin, the State capital through their activities in an effort to ensure that they issue the particulars fraudulently depriving the State of required revenue.”
They therefore called on the State Government “to look into the mode of recruitment and training as their behaviours on the road has left much to be desired. There are VIO in other States of the federation and we see the way they operate but that of Kwara State is becoming worrisome. They are always on the road almost everyday of the week which is abnormal.
“They should be called to order and stop harassing innocent citizens.”