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Imomo: Hassles in driver's licence renewal

By The Rainbow
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I AM a retired level 17 officer of a Federal parastatal and my driver's licence recently expired and I have gone through these grueling stages for three days and I am not yet near renewing my driver's licence. WHY?

1st stage:- Edo Revenue Office Along Airport Road, Benin

When I got to this office, I was given three options:

• Pay about N4000 and get my driver's licence renewed unofficially. As a honourable retired officer, I opted out of this option.

• Pay N10,000 and they will help me download the form and pay the official N6,350 into First Bank. I also opted out of this because I am computer literate and I thought I could easily pay to First Bank the official fee of N6,350.

• I was then shown the type written official procedure pasted on the wall to follow which I dutifully copied out.

2nd stage: Payment Into First Bank.
• I immediately went to a nearby cybercafé and down loaded the application form and acknowledgement slip.

• I went straight to First Bank, Airport road, with the form and required cash but the bank said they had no network. The manager was kind enough to phone Ekeuwan Branch which had no network and Ring Road Branch which had network. So I hurried to Ring Road Branch only for them to tell me they had no network. I waited till 8.00 p.m. and had to leave in frustration.

• When I went into the Internet earlier, many banks were listed, so first thing the next day I rushed to Zenith Bank, Airport Road only for them to tell me that they are not allowed to collect cash for renewal of driver's licence. The same thing was said by Unity Bank at Ring Road.

• The question is why not all the banks as listed in the Internet. Why only First Bank, thus creating bottleneck.

• I was then forced to go back to First Bank, Ring Road where I eventually paid in the cash after a very long wait.

3rd stage:- VIO Office at Sapele Road, Benin.
• On the third day I went to VIO office with the document where I was made to do a driving test and eventually my documents signed.

• However, I was given two handouts which I was made to pay N1,500 for but when I questioned why I was given a receipt of N1,000 they said that no receipt are issued for the second handout. In addition I was persuaded to give them additional N500 to save me the harrowing experience of paying into bank.

4th stage:- State Licensing office at New Lagos Road.

• When I got to this office, the officer was not on seat and when I complained about the delay he laughed and said that I should save my complaint till later. I did not know what he meant until I got to 5th stage. He however promptly signed my paper and directed me to the next stage.

5th stage:- FRSC Office at New Lagos Road
• I was taken aback at the huge crowd I met in this office. In the first office I met many people sorting through some issued driver's licences. One of them said he submitted his documents about six months ago and was able to do the image capturing after two weeks and since then he had been coming to check for his renewed driver's licence.

• When I got to the waiting hall I met about 50 men and women all with various stages of frustration. One person told me he had been coming from Agbor for some time and has not even got his image captured.

• As a responsible citizen I tried to find out from the zone commander, Benin the cause of the chaotic situation. He ordered his staff to push me out of his office and locked his door.

• I then went to make photocopies of all the documents now with me and handed over the original copies to the FRSC officer collecting them. The photocopies I will keep in my car and show them to any officers of FRSC or VIO who demand for them. At my age and the position I have held in this country there is no way I will join the crowd in FRSC office to struggle to renew my licence.

• So I have spent three good days in an effort to renew my licence and I am in no way near achieving that.

Final stage:- After thought
I thought the FRSC computerised the process of issuing and renewing driver's licences to facilitate the process and save us from touts that were causing nuisance in licensing offices in those days. My experience these past three days have shown that FRSC has failed woefully to achieve this at least in Benin office.

Can you please investigate and save us from this harrowing experience in renewing driver's licence in Benin City.

• Imomo, an engineer, lives in Benin City.