Sometime last week The IG of Police, Abubakar Mohammed reemphasized on the decree banning the use of tinted glass in Nigeria, he went ahead to order his state commissioners to get their men to enforce this law. Since then it’s been a tale of woes by drivers of SUVs’, mid size minivans across the country. The excuse of the IG is that vehicles with tinted glasses are used to perpetrate all manner of crimes in the country, a statement Nigerians know is not true, and moreover he failed to give us statistics of such crimes carried out with such vehicles. Let’s look at this law in the first place.
Our IG is relying on a decree made by a dictator in 1991 (later amended in 1997) to curtail security challenges in year 2013, isn’t this preposterous. On Feb 28th, 2011, the Minister of police affairs, Humphrey Abah reminded Nigerians on the existence of this law but went a step further to say that vehicles with factory tint were exempted, that police and FRSC should clamp down on heavily filmed vehicle. http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/vehicles-with-tint-glasses-fg-bars-cjn-ministers-service-chiefs/86812/
The exemption was made because of the following: (a) 95% of SUV’s, mid size mini vans, cross over vehicles manufactured between 1999 and 2013 come with factory tint. (2) The revenue generated by police on issuance of permits was never remitted to the federation account. (3) 90% of permits issued by motor licensing agents were fake. Motorists who procured this permits now had the burden of also proving to the constable at a road block on the genuineness of his permit. Imagine being stopped by a police officer along Sagamu-Benin road and you are travelling to Port Harcourt, on presentation of your permit, he tells you, that you have a fake paper and takes you to a remote police station inside Ondo state and grounds your vehicle. If you consider your losses, you conclude its best to dole out some thousands of naira to continue your journey. This was happening to motorists and our government was aware of it, so it was a big sigh of relief when government made the pronouncement exempting factory tinted vehicles.
Unfortunately, this relief did not last long with the new announcement two weeks ago by the present IGP Mohammed Abubakar. Yesterdays write-up by Frank Mba, police P.R.O. (http://pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/04/04/the-controversy-over-ban-on-tinted-glass-vehicle/)
fully explains the new order and automatically reverts us back to square one. In his explanation, he has quoted the laws empowering the IGP to continue to dehumanize Nigerians. He has also stated the conditions to get this permit :- (a) Write a formal application to the IGP for the use of factory tinted glasses, stating the reason for use, bearing in mind that approval of such application is predicated on health or security reasons only.
(b) Applications should be accompanied with the following:
(i) Photocopies of all relevant particulars of the vehicle.
(ii) Photograph of the vehicle.
(iii) Profile of the applicant with relevant background information.
(iv) Passport size photograph of the owner of the vehicle.
(v) Any other supporting document/information that may help to justify the request.
Unfortunately he forgot to inform us the administrative cost of this application to Nigerians. Will this new source of IGR be remitted to the federation account? He also said “Police Officers are also warned to desist from harassing Nigerians who have already obtained valid tinted glass permits, as provided by the extant laws.” How will a corporal on patrol in the dirt road of Awkuzu, Uromi, Okene, Yenegoa, Ikate, Kaduna, Damaturu determine that a worthless piece of paper is VALID. I use the federal highways alot, connecting through so many states on my honest pursuit for daily bread, I always shudder and cringe in fear on the quality of the men policing our country and their blatant refusal to improve on service delivery.
Much as I sympathize with the police and the federal government on the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, I emphatically state here that we will make no progress on our war against terrorist or terrorism with this kind of archaic, analog law or laws. What’s the big deal in flagging down a car with tint and searching the car if you suspect the occupants? Must you dehumanize Nigerians by impounding their cars and extort money from them all in the name of enforcing an archaic law. I hear they called it “operation velvet” in Abuja, very laughable. This is not our problem, the police are just wasting time, tax payers money and forming to be busy. The same outcry of Nigerians on a judgment that set a man free for paying a fine of N750,000 (?) after stealing billions of naira of pensioners fund (my dad’s federal pension no longer hits his account) will greet this stupid backward, wicked order.
The federal government should as a matter of urgency setup a national biometric database of Nigerians, tie it up with our ability to get any service in the country (even pay for food in any bukka), spend money on intelligence gathering. CBN should be encouraged and supported to implement its e-money policy to the fullest, make it extremely expensive and impossible to carry cash, use information technology to help solve some of these security challenges, strengthen our borders, reward honesty and not compensate convicted criminals in whatever name you call it. I thought the noise of the new vehicle plate numbers was to use technology to connect to the registered owners of the car, you will be surprised to know we are back to the old system, pay a motor office/agent the fees, you have the plate numbers delivered to your home, express service they call it. But really, how can all these work without power.
On a lighter note, I think all the owners of millennium cars should also ask for amnesty for buying modern cars that come with modern facilities.
Long live Nigeria