Lagos Computerised Vehicle Inspection Service (LACVIS) Chief Executive Officer Mr Segun Obayendo speaks on the huge benefits of computerised vehicle inspection.
What does vehicle inspection entail and how has LACVIS’ journey been?
The journey of putting LACVIS together started in 2009, when Kayode Opeifa was Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation. Then, we were taken through technical bidding to see whether we had what it takes to deliver what we promised. We scaled through that and moved to the financial bidding and, by the grace of God, we also scaled through the financial aspect and we were adjudged the preferred bidder for the project.
But somehow, we were not able to conclude as before all the agencies could sign off on the project, we had entered the election season. The government in its wisdom said since it had finished what they needed to do, it would hand us over to the incoming government. When Ambode’s administration came in, we were invited for further discussion and, thereafter, awarded the concession. The beauty of it is that our system is working. The other challenges we’ve had on the way is raising fund for the project. Many banks will not want to fund a startup and run away from the uncertainties of dealing with government, but thank God we have been able to weather this and get to where we are, but it has not been easy.
How will you assess your services’ reception?
Surprisingly, reception was good and I don’t think it could have been better. Perhaps it is because it is Lagos State. Many of the residents have seen something like that in the United States (US) or United Kingdom (UK), or in Germany or Spain. Lagos State has quite a large number of well-travelled citizens, who have seen this outside our shores and that are why reception has been encouraging and the reason why we can say we are making progress.
Must all vehicles undergo test?
Not all vehicles, the ones exempted by law are vehicles that are less than two years old or have made less than 100,000 kilometres. If a car has clocked 100,000 kilometres even if it is a year old, it must be inspected. Most of the cars we use in the country are not new; these categories of cars must be inspected once you’ve bought them to ensure that they conform with our safety regulations. This is on the face of the law and not personal opinions.
How many centres are you planning for Lagos? What is your outlook this year?
We had thought that by December last year, we would have completed about 10 centres in Lagos, but because most of these things are foreign dependent, we were slowed down. On the civil structure we were on time, but on the machinery, we were a bit delayed. Before they could produce these equipment and calibrate them to meet the usefulness of a tropical region like Nigeria and get them shipped, clearing them from ports, the installation and training of more manpower to man them, took a lot of time.
But the good thing is that as at now, the 10 centres are ready. We are just installing the equipment and by this month, all the centres will be opened to the public. We have one at PWD- close to Ikeja GRA. We have at Agric in Ishawo, Ikorodu. We have in Gbadaga; Oko-Oba; Oko-Afo; Badagry; Epe; Bolade; Apapa; Odo Olowu and Ayobo, close to Abesan Estate.
We are still set to do another 10 centres this year to push our operational centres to 22 by the end of the year. Though the plan is to have at least 27 centres by year end. Once this is commissioned by this month, we will begin the process of constructing other centres immediately. We have started first by fine tuning the land and our contractor would move to site.
Do you have capacity to test all categories of vehicles including armoured or other security related utility vehicles?
Because of the locations of some of the centres they cannot accommodate higher capacity vehicle testing services. For example at Ojodu, we cannot accommodate articulated vehicles, but we would attend to such kinds of vehicles at Ikorodu, where we have ample land area, same thing in Apapa, the structure is strictly for big trucks we would not even be able to entertain small capacity vehicles in these two places. We have adequate equipments in all locations we’re operating.
Are there any challenges or cooperation from the government and its agencies?
We are partners in progress and we have continued to assure them that no jobs would be lost. We have also assured them of their continued relevance. Take for instance the VIS, though the governor has taken them off the road, but they have seen that they still have to endorse everything we do here before it becomes valid. They are still our regulator. If we had not explained to them properly, what their roles would be in the new system, there would have been frictions.
It is backed by law. It is not whether somebody likes it or not. It is a statutory requirement for every motorist and whatever is statutory you must comply and the rates, to the best of our knowledge and going by the testimonies and testimonials we have gotten so far, is most reasonable and affordable.
What are the benefits of taking your vehicle through computerised vehicle testing?
The benefits are many. Apart from saving lives, the other direct benefit is that you are certain of what to fix and where to trouble shoot rather than being subjected to the harrowing guess work of your trial and error mechanics that have little or no competence to handle your vehicles. You can, with precision, tell your mechanic what to fix in your car, which is diametrically opposed to what we used to have here. Two, if you come through our system and you maintain it, it boost its longevity, thereby saves you from embarrassment and economic loss. It gives you a better and more profound understanding of your car. It is like a person taking full medical checkup once a year, it makes you last longer.
Can inspection help change the profile of our roads by helping to reduce fatalities and crashes?
One of our major stakeholders in this project is the FRSC and they are happy that we are creating an institution that is able to contain the scourge of crashes on our roads. There’s no way crashes on the roads can be reduced without having proper capacity to ensure safety and going by the five pillars of safety of our roads by the United Nations, this is one of the legs. Vehicle inspection is number three on the UN list of critical legs to reduction of crashes. To reduce carnage on our roads, we must ensure proper framework is put in place to ensure everyone complies with vehicle testing, which reduces chances of human errors. It has been the culture elsewhere and it is one of the ways to give our country the right image in the comity of nations. It is high time every state government and every stakeholder come to the reality that you cannot have reduction in crashes if vehicles are not undergoing routine checks yearly or biannually.