Without doubt, the rate of traffic law enforcement in Nigeria is very low. Another disturbing trend is the wrong form of enforcement.
Sometime ago, I boarded a taxi in Abuja and as we proceded, a man suddenly passed and crossed the taxi with his car and ordered the driver to come out. Like a film, I was watching the scene. I knew quite right that it cannot be an armed robbery case with the level of security in that part of Abuja.
The man then drew my attention to the plate number at the back of the taxi. It was part of a telephone number. He moved to the front of the taxi, there was no single number. After a brief interrogation, the taxi driver brought out a document from one of the FCT Area Council where it was clearly written that the plate numbers of the taxi were removed till the driver settles the bill for the offence he committed.
The question now is, how can the taxi be identified if he commits any offence without plate numbers? Such mode of law enforcement will only succeed in promoting criminality.Drivers know that they cannot be identified, thus they could be more aggressive in their driving.
Today, there are many motorcycles moving around without plate numbers. If CCTV cameras are even installed, how many vital information will they pick without the plate numbers of vehicles?
Law enforcement and traffic management officers should stop removing the plate numbers of vehicles as punishment.They should also desist from pursuing drivers on the road in a bid to arrest them. Struggling to take over the control of a vehicle or removing the key of a vehicle in motion should be stopped forthwith.These and allied enforcement habits do create more problems than they are trying to solve.
The Federal Road Safety Commission and the state governments (including FCT) should look into the need to institutionalise the use of vehicle plate numbers with chips compatible with CCTV camera and other security apparatus. This will ensure effective traffic law enforcement without causing safety and security risks.