At the start of August, the Lagos state government signed into effect a new set of road traffic laws.
This was to eliminate any confusion about what things were considered offenses, and to standardize the penalties and fees for committing these offenses. So now, I can tell you smoking while driving is a violation with a fine of ₦20,000, as is driving while counting money.
Installing a radio on a motorcycle warrants a fine of ₦20,000 and the radio being impounded.
The new law book also has a list of one-way roads in Lagos, as well as a list of roads that motorcycles are banned from. All in all, a comprehensive list.
But what the law doesn’t mention are the basic things, like how to get a driving license in Lagos. I know everyone has a guy who will do it for you if you call his number and slip him some money. But before I get to mounting a radio on my okada, what is the standard, honest way of getting a rider’s permit?
Last year, the Federal Road Safety Corps came up with a new driving license and vehicle license plate scheme. They announced that it was necessary to move everyone to a new more secure system because there were too many criminals counterfeiting the old one.
Early this year, six months before we were to be moved to the new system, a group of forgers was broken up in Yaba accused of making fake versions of the more secure license plates that had just come out. At around the same time, the Senate stepped in and suspended the conversion to the new system.
Right now, there is some confusion over how many of the new plates are legit and how many are fake. The public is caught between holding onto their old license plates and moving to the new ones. And if your driving license has expired in the last year, the FRSC will give you an extension stamp that you have to renew every three months because there isn’t a new system to move to yet.
Thanks to the new laws, you can now see that driving without a valid license will lead to your vehicle being impounded while you pay for the towing and storage of the car.
But you can’t get a valid license to prevent that, not legally anyway.