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13.12.2021 news N500 for Overloading. Niger Drivers, Corrupt FRSC Officers’ Common Ground

Published 13th Dec, 2021

By Yakubu Mohammed

Rolland Oloruntola, a commercial driver, was travelling on the Suleja-Minna road when he was stopped by officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

One of the officers, T. I. Gogata, asked for his driver’s licence, stretching his hand through the driver’s window.

Rolland brought out a document showing that his licence was being processed. He had obtained it from the FRSC office in Minna. He handed it to him. The officer, without evidence, accused the driver of forging the document and fined him N20,000 for forgery and overloading.

FROM N20,000 TO N500

Rolland bargaining the bribe with Gogata, an FRSC officer

Rolland was not bothered by the antics of the officer who had brought out a fine voucher.“Oga no fine me. I no get the N20,000 you wan collect,” he told the officer. “Na N500 I get and that is what I can offer.”

Gogata was not angry about how the bribe was ridiculously bargained. “You are a constant bribe giver,” he told the driver.

Our reporter, who was a passenger in Rolland’s car, watched as he squeezed the money in the officer’s hand.

Rolland told FIJ the N500 bribe is a daily contribution to the officers. “Any driver intercepted would not pay more than N500 except for private vehicles found guilty of an offence,” he said.

He said the officers make their daily bread from drivers. “They could realise more than N20,000 a day,” Rolland told FIJ.

OVERLOADING LAW MISCONSTRUED 

Section 10(4) of 2007 FRSC Act, prescribed N10,000 fine for overloading. But in Niger State, overloading seems to be an agreement between the FRSC and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

A driver at Mobil Park, Minna, told FIJ the FRSC and NUTRW had reached a common ground “on carrying two passengers in the front passenger seat.”

“The union, in the interest of drivers, implored FRSC that drivers should be allowed to carry two passengers in the front seat because restricting the seat to one passenger would not favour them,” he told FIJ.

“Subverting the agreement has no basis, if not for mindless extortion.”

Musa Mohammed, the Niger State FRSC sector commander, did not respond to FIJ’s enquiries.

Published 13th Dec, 2021

By Yakubu Mohammed

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