The successful development and implementation of the National Uniform Licensing Scheme (NULS) and other cutting edge technologies by the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) have earned the sector a model status in the comity of nations. FRANCIS ADINOYI KADIRI reports that governments of the US and Ghana have studied Nigeria’s NULS and are set to use aspects of it to improve their own traffic systems.
For many years, the upward trend in statistics of road accidents in Nigeria was a major cause of concern to stakeholders. As a response to the need for a viable institution to checkmate excesses and ensure safe use of Nigerian road by users, the Ibrahim Babangida administration promulgated decree number 45 of 1988 which established the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
Statutorily, the Federal Road Safety Commission is the lead agency responsible for road traffic and road safety management in Nigeria. In line with its mandate, the Commission has since 2OO7 introduced several safety-oriented initiatives for road users with a view of ensuring that road users make it safe for themselves and for others.
The National Uniform Licensing Scheme
Corp Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, OsitaChidoka recently listed the objectives of the National Uniform Licensing Scheme; a policy he said was specifically designed to address myriads of problems associated with the sector. Osita who was represented by the Commission’s Head of Planning and Advisory, Corps Cmdr Clement Oladelesaid the scheme was also tailor-made to address various security challenges in the sector.
According to him, “the scheme was introduced to harmonize, standardise, and unify all existing modes of licensing of drivers and vehicles,” adding that the scheme is been implemented in collaboration with states and the FCT through the Boards of Internal Revenue of various states, under the umbrella of Joint Tax Board and the Vehicles Inspection Offices.
Advantages of NULS
The Corp Marshal said apart from improving security, the NULS would curb forgery of vehicle number plate as well as build a comprehensive database of various activities and happenings in the traffic sector.
“It will create a central verification facility as well as eliminate revenue loss,” he said, adding that it will also curb insiders’ abuses.
Further enumerating the advantages of the scheme, the Corp Marshal disclosed that the National Uniform Licensing Scheme would also enhance the integrity of the scheme while the new driver’s license has been designed to serve as a valid identity when necessary.
According to him, the NULS is an initiative which has helped the FRSC to develop a high level information architecture record of one-driver-one-record,” a development he said has been remarkable for information sharing with other security agencies.
While saying that the verification of the authenticity or otherwise of Vehicle Number Plate has been simplified as a strategy to combat forgery, the Corp Marshal said: It is now a very simple process and you don’t need to drive to any of our offices, all you need do is send an sms “verifyplateno to 33810”.
According to him, the NVIS is an enterprise web portal developed with the latest technology with a relational database management system, adding that application is hosted in FRSC’s state of the art date centre.
“Apart from the ability to verify the authenticity of a vehicle plate number via sms or web, the new system has the potential to indicate that a particular vehicle is stolen,” he said, adding that the devise is programmed to flash back any chassis number of vehicle which had been registered previously.
“FRSC has created a platform for login via www.frscivp.com.ng to verify plate number and view vehicle information,” he said.
Announcing the impact of the FRSC giant strides in Nigeria, the Corp Marshal said “the United States, after studying the new scheme, intends to use some aspects of it to improve USA MVA processes,” adding that some states in the USA, under reciprocity initiative accept the exchange of the new drivers’ license for applicants applying for DL in those states in the United States.
He said under reciprocity, most European countries recognize and accept the new Nigerian Drivers license in Europe. According to him, the Economic Community of West African States has adopted the new Drivers License and new Vehicle Number Plate as model for a common licensing scheme for promoting the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services.
According to him, the successful adoption and implementation of the new number plate and new driver’s license will put Nigeria on the right track to meet the Accra Declaration aimed at reducing Road Traffic fatality by 50% year 5050, while it will also help to achieve the goals of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety which is from 2O11 to 2O2O.
The Corp Marshal further said management would complete the on-going transformation of the FRSC into a world class organisation by aligning with Vision 2O:2O2O of placing Nigerian roads within the league of global 2O safest roads by year 2O2O, adding that collaboration with stakeholders is imperative for realization of the set goals.