Right from the educational system to political structure and every aspect of the economy, successive governments have continued to implement needless policies at the expense of the populace whom they claim to serve. Most of these policies which are initially touted as beneficial usually end up as another waste of public resources and a millstone around the neck of the average Nigerian. The latest in this series of counterproductive policies is the introduction of new number plates and driver’s license by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). While the idea may be commendable in itself, the mode of implementation is totally unacceptable.
As far as the FRSC is concerned, it makes no difference whether you had a number before or not; the cost is the same across board. Why would you charge someone who already has a registered number plate and drivers’ licence as if they had none at all? This is nothing short of oppression and exploitation. Worse still, implementing this policy at this time is no guarantee that we will not repeat the process in the near future as time has proven that we usually implement policies before we have successfully developed the appropriate structures to ensure sustainability.
For Nigerians to agree with the FRSC’s purported reasons for this new policy, the financial implications must be properly adjusted such that it can be easily accommodated by the average motorist whose livelihood is just barely above the poverty line. Any policy that would require the average Nigerian to cough out twenty-five thousand to forty thousand naira in these challenging times is not humane at all. Human right organisations, political unions, opinion leaders, religious bodies and loyal citizens of Nigeria see the policy as draconian, oppressive and fraudulent. It reeks of extortion. While it may be necessary for new cars and new drivers, it’s totally unwarranted and unprofitable for old car owners.
Pastor Caleb Amiola is Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Ife-North Chapter.