Wednesday , September 27 2023

Rising lamentations over extortion by safety brokers

Ayoola Olasupo examines the poor high quality of government-issued technique of identification and the way safety brokers are making the most of the state of affairs to extort cash from their house owners

When Olaitan Adediran awakened on Thursday morning to move for his office in Ogun State, he was assured his day would go with none hitches.

His hustle was authentic and he was not indebted to anyone who would possibly harass or damage him. He noticed his common prayers and requested God to bless his day.

He was inside an 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus when some policemen ordered him and different passengers to alight for a routine cease and search. One of many policemen, who searched his bag, later requested his technique of identification.

Adediran, 28, who narrated the encounter to Sunday PUNCH, mentioned inside minutes, he introduced out his voter card and handed it over to the cop.

“That was the only ID I had on me. The policeman observed that my name was already wiped off and the picture was faint. It caused me serious embarrassment and almost ruined my day. I escaped being extorted by luck,” he acknowledged.

However Adediran was fortunate.

A Lagos resident, who solely recognized herself as Biola for safety causes, mentioned personnel of the Federal Street Security Corps within the state extorted N15,000 from her over light quantity plates.

She mentioned, “I used to be driving round Ketu final August when the FRSC males began stopping autos. Once they reached mine, I used to be requested to return down. At first, I wasn’t moved as a result of I had all my paperwork intact, so I handed over all of the related paperwork to the officer that approached me.

“He checked every thing, requested me some questions concerning the automobile possession, driving licence, amongst others, after he didn’t discover something incriminating. The person handed over the paperwork to me.

“But after a few minutes, an officer suddenly rushed at us from the front. He was shouting, ‘Don’t let that woman go’. I was not even bothered about the drama he was performing until I entered my car and saw him standing in front of my car. He was shouting, ‘Madam, come down. Your number plates are not clear, they have faded. I was surprised. To cut the long story short, I eventually paid N15, 000. They said they wanted cash when I wanted to transfer the money to them.”

One other motorist, Busola Olanipekun, shared an identical story.

She mentioned some policemen connected to the Isolo Police Division, Lagos State, stopped her automobile, claiming she displayed light quantity plates.

Based on her, she virtually got here to blows with the cops, including that N5,000 was extorted from her earlier than her Toyota Camry was launched.

“Even the N5,000 we transferred to them, the transaction was carried out by my husband because I didn’t have any cash on me. I had to beg and sincerely, I felt embarrassed that day. If we had not paid that money, those policemen were ready to seize the car,” she acknowledged.

Abimbola Showemimo, a designer, mentioned her voter card was lower than 5 years previous, but light.She mentioned she obtained the cardboard in April 2018 for the 2019 normal elections however was shocked when the imprints began fading.

“My voter card is the one light ID I’ve. I registered for it on February 21, 2018, and a brief one was issued to me. Ultimately, I collected the everlasting voter card someday in April identical 12 months.

“It was attractive when I received the card until recently when it started fading. I have not been able to use it since then. It has always been in a safe place where I keep my documents. I have never exposed it to any form of liquid,” she confused.

A way of identification is a doc both containing a photograph, home tackle, signature and a singular quantity or barcode particularly assigned to a person.

Such paperwork embrace everlasting voter playing cards, beginning certificates, nationwide ID playing cards, passports, driving licences, and quantity plates, amongst others.

A local of Osun State, Abou Reedor, who has by no means used his PVC to vote since he obtained it in 2018, mentioned he usually stored the cardboard out of attain as a result of he was ashamed of its look.

A duplicate of Reedor’s PVC seen by our correspondent confirmed that apart from the picture, which was partially seen, different data on the cardboard had peeled off.

The inscriptions, ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria, Independent National Electoral Commission’, written atop the cardboard, are barely seen.

The title, tackle, occupation, and date of beginning, amongst others, are light, whereas the barcode behind the cardboard is gone.

Reedor mentioned, “I obtained my PVC in 2018 when we were preparing for the Osun State governorship election. As you can see, my name, address, date of birth and other important details have faded and my image is partially visible.”

He famous that the method of making use of for a brand new card, which he described as irritating, would stop him from looking for a brand new one.

“If the machine can bring out my details and my image is clearly seen, I don’t think they should deprive me of voting,” he added.

One other holder of the PVC, Consolation Adebare, mentioned she seen the harm to her card when the movie used to guard its floor began peeling off.

She mentioned she had stopped utilizing it for official documentation.

The situation of the cardboard, she mentioned, pressured her to desert it, whereas she sought different technique of identification.

 “I registered for the voter card in February 2011 when I was in my final year at the university. Sincerely, I don’t know the exact thing that happened to the card. I just noticed it started peeling. My image is almost off the card because the edges are peeling too. The card itself is strong but the layer on it that contains my personal details and picture is of poor quality. I no longer use it. I think I only used it when it was in good condition. I already have a national ID card and a passport, so I don’t intend to get another card for now.”

 Apparently, PVCs and quantity plates should not the one government-issued paperwork which are of poor high quality.

A Lagos resident, Feyisetan Ijimakinwa, bemoaned the situation of his driving licence.

He defined that the knowledge on his card was not seen.

Ijimakinwa mentioned he was shocked that regardless of preserving the cardboard in a protected place, collectively along with her PVC, the knowledge on the floor was fading.

He mentioned, “The fact that these cards are fading despite being well kept in a safe compartment of my wallet with minimal handling surprises me. They could only be read under intense scrutiny.”

He famous that the dangerous situation of his PVC denied him the chance of voting throughout the 2019 normal elections as a result of the INEC card reader couldn’t course of it.

Residents sort out authorities

Whereas there was clamour that motorists shouldn’t be arrested by safety operatives over light quantity plates, drivers have mentioned the motor registration businesses of presidency needs to be blamed for the poor high quality of quantity plates throughout the nation.

A motorist, who recognized himself solely as Mr Yusuf for safety causes, mentioned it was demeaning that such businesses would situation out inferior quantity plates to automobile house owners.

He defined that he had neither washed his quantity plate with detergents nor scrubbed its floor with hoarse objects since he bought his automobile in 2014.

He mentioned, “It is a bad thing that government agencies give out inferior number plates to us. This is not good for the government and the image of the country. My number plate was obtained in 2014 when I bought my car. I wonder why the number plate will just fade like that.”

Yusuf mentioned he was able to confront any authorities officers if arrested over the matter, including that one other quantity plate he secured for his automobile in 2017 had additionally waned.

“As far as the materials are concerned, they are inferior because they are not supposed to be fading like that. I have not been accosted by anybody so I don’t have the intention of applying for another one yet until I refurbish the car. If they accost me, I will let them understand that I obtained the number plate legally and I should not be arrested because it got faded,” he acknowledged.

An Ogun State indigene, Dele Ayodele, mentioned it was “absurd” that the federal government issued low-quality paperwork to residents.

He acknowledged that having to switch a quantity plate or different technique of identification inside a brief time period was a waste of assets.

“The materials used for producing the number plates are not good at all. We can’t compare them with the ones they bring from abroad. It is sad that the government did the number plate for us. Why should they arrest us for what we know nothing about?” he queried.

One other motorist, Ibe Peters, mentioned it might be unfair if automobile house owners paid for the substitute of such quantity plates.

He mentioned, “There is nothing I can do to my bad number plate and I won’t stop them from arresting me.  What they should do is to give holders of faded number plates new ones without taking a dime from them.”

Based on him, arresting harmless Nigerians over unclear quantity plates would translate to oppression.

“It may even lead to a protest. Since mine is completely faded already, if it is something I can afford to get at the moment, I will or else I will have to wait until I’m capable of renewing it,” he added.

Making high quality ID playing cards

Commenting on the problem, a printing and high quality knowledgeable, Olurotimi Kazeem, recognized the significance of ink choice within the course of of producing ID playing cards.

He acknowledged that there have been various kinds of ink for particular varieties of printing.

Based on him, ID playing cards could also be coated to stop them from fading.

“It also depends on the type of item you want to print, so one has to be very careful in the selection of inks. There are some coatings that can be used to protect ID cards from fading. When laminating them, there are some securities on the film used. The ink quality will surely affect the end process. When a quality machine is used for printing, quality materials should also be used if we want to get a good outcome,” he added.

In his contribution, the Basic Supervisor of Afkar Printing and Publishing Firm Restricted, Adewunmi Jacob, mentioned a very good high quality UV-fast, in any other case referred to as large-fast (the ink utilized in digital printing of playing cards) needs to be utilized throughout the manufacturing of IDs for a better impact on their sturdiness.

He mentioned when the pigment utilized throughout manufacturing is low, the product needs to be anticipated to fade off, including {that a} UV-fast is able to extending the permanence of data on paperwork for an extended time period.

Jacob, nonetheless, acknowledged that publicity of ID playing cards and quantity plates to the warmth situation in Nigeria in comparison with different overseas nations might contribute to their bodily depreciation.

He acknowledged, “Over a time period, irrespective of the amount of UV-fast utilized, publicity to daylight and warmth will nonetheless have an effect on the merchandise however it’s depending on the variety of parts or substances utilized on that specific ink utilized in printing them.

“In this part of the world, where we have heat all year round, one should expect a high ink product but when we talk about foreign countries where the level of cold is higher compared to Nigeria; the nature of their environment is protecting those products. The large-fast pigment to be applied must be good enough to be able to protect all the strictures.”

He suggested that producers of such objects ought to make the merchandise scratch-proof by making use of coatings, which might both be on the floor or in type of lamination.

Quantity plates improve safety

The Lagos State Commander of the Federal Street Security Corps, Olusegun Ogungbemide, mentioned the regulation doesn’t allow quantity plates to be faint inside a variety of 100 metres.

He defined that it might translate to a violation of site visitors legal guidelines if automobile house owners continued to drive autos with light quantity plates.

He mentioned, “A quantity plate is without doubt one of the objects mandated to be mounted to a automobile in keeping with the regulation for identification and safety. So, in a state of affairs the place the quantity plate will not be seen from 100 metres away, the regulation doesn’t allow such plates needs to be used and in such circumstances, it permits the regulation to guide the offender for using a non-visible quantity plate.

“Number plates could be non-visible in many ways such as the letterings are no more readable or it is broken or covered. It is necessary for identification and security purposes. When people use vehicles to perpetrate crimes, the only means to identify the vehicles is through the number plates they carry because every detail of the people that registered the vehicles would have been stored in the database.”

The corps commander mentioned the company would by no means situation quantity plates to people.

Based on him, such duties are throughout the purview of states.

“FRSC points quantity plates to states. Any legal responsibility as regards quantity plates needs to be conferred to states. The motion taken by Lagos State now’s that if you’re given your quantity plates, the template on methods to shield them would even be handed over to you. So, they’ve additionally created that avenue to guard the quantity plates.

“When a brand new automobile is purchased, one has to register it and word the transformation from the previous quantity plate to the brand new one, as put in place by the Federal Authorities.

“I’ve been using the number plates of all my vehicles since 2013 and they are not faded, so I think those that complain about theirs will be in the best position to give an account of why they are faded. Maybe I’m lucky not to have to use detergents or some other chemicals in washing them. If actually they are all products of the same company and mine have not faded, then why are others fading?” he queried.

The nationwide spokesperson for the FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, mentioned quantity plates might put on out over a time period.

He mentioned, “Vehicle owners are meant to pay for a replacement of fading number plates because every vehicle owner is responsible for the replacement of his or her fading or faded number plate. The fact that it accrues to the owner of the vehicle to repaint his or her car when the paint is faded, the same applies to the number plate.”

He added that when quantity plates are light, they may solely get replaced, not renewed.

Kazeem defined that substitute may very well be a results of loss, burning, fading and different circumstances which may result in the defacing of the product.

When requested the penalty for light quantity plates, he mentioned the corps solely performed an advisory function.

“There is no penalty for the use of faded number plates in the corps’ notice of offence booklet. What we do on that is strictly advisory because of the security implications of using the faded number plate,” he added.

The FRSC spokesperson mentioned a readable quantity plate might assist in enhancing intelligence when a automobile was used for perpetrating against the law, however a light quantity plate would deter such efforts.

He mentioned light quantity plates may very well be brought on by common publicity to daylight, chemical compounds and different unfriendly climate circumstances.

PVCs just for elections

A senior INEC official, who spoke on situation of anonymity, mentioned light PVCs had been the outcomes of improper dealing with.

The supply defined that like passports, PVCs must be stored in remoted and protected locations to stop them from harm.

He mentioned, “The cardboard is getting light due to the best way it’s being utilized by folks. It’s not one thing folks needs to be taking round with them. It needs to be a doc that needs to be introduced out as soon as in 4 years, however folks take it out daily as a method of identification.

“People should get their National Identification Number, passports or driving licences rather than tendering their PVCs as their means of identification because the PVCs are not meant to be carried about. We should learn to do things right. That card is only meant to be used on election days.”

The Lagos State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, mentioned the state was not conscious of such complaints.

He mentioned, “I am not aware of that and we have not received any complaints about that. If that is happening, they should let INEC know about it. Nobody has reported to us and there is nothing like that.”

The INEC Commissioner for Info and Voter Schooling, Festus Okoye, didn’t reply to a textual content message and a number of other calls to his telephone quantity as of the time this report was filed.

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