by Azeez Adeniyi
The Lagos State Government on Monday ordered Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) to immediately leave its roads.
The news was met with jubilation by road users in the state.
Stories of VIS personnel causing chaos on Lagos roads are not uncommon, especially in cases involving commercial bus drivers.
For car owners in the state, the fear of VIO is the beginning of wisdom and the end of well-budgeted monies.
The personnel have become a pain in the neck of motorists, even though they are empowered to determine the roadworthiness and safety of the driver.
Just recently, a painter’s car got burnt after it was impounded by VIS operatives in Lagos.
The Deputy head of the VIS, one Akeem had reportedly pleaded with the painter to accept a N200,000 compensation for his car.
The story, however, changed after he met VIS Director, Gbolahan Toriola who accused him of setting his car on fire.
He was then handed over to the police and detained for three days.
He said, “I was flagged down at Ilaje, Ajah, by the officials, who said my windscreen was cracked. They took the car key from me and drove it into their premises. I was told that my fine was N80,000.
“The next day, I went to pick two cheques and some of my tools which were in the car. After that, I started running around to raise funds, because I used that car as my mobile workshop.
“About two weeks later, I called them that I was ready to have my car back. They gave me an account number and also insisted I change the windscreen. I had gone to withdraw the money on Monday when I got a call from Mr. Akeem, who asked me to proceed to the VIS office at Ojodu Berger. He said I should hold on with the payment.”
The Director of VIS, Toriola in an interview had insisted that the painter stole some valuables from his car before burning it.
This is just one of the many cases where the VIS had frustrated road users.
The notorious nature of VIOs prompted motorists to create a Twitter handle @VIOsightings.
The handle allows road users tweet locations of Vehicle Inspection Officers with the hashtag #VIOsightings, warning others to avoid that route.
Many Lagosians will be glad that their nightmare with VIOs is now in the past and they can drive around without fear of being extorted.