You know how you wish to avoid visiting government parastatals unless you know someone who’s expecting you there? I had steeled myself for ‘come what may’ this morning as I left home for the license office.
The birthday was on Friday, Oct 13 so the license was expired.
On Monday, Oct 16, I had visited the FRSC portal to apply for a 5-year renewal. I paid with my GT card, N10450 and printed out the form. Tuesday morning after dropping the kids at school I headed for the FRSC Ojodu office, having chosen that centre while filling the form
The drive down was smooth, parked outside, walked into the compound with my form, unsure of how to manoeuvre my way around the large compound. Right at the pedestrian gate, I bump into a khaki on-black uniform-wearing man who asked me how he could help. As we spoke, a man walked in wearing plain clothes and the officer asked me to follow this person. I restated my purpose and he took me to a photocopy shed by a long block of offices on the right. Here, dude asks for a passport photograph which I return to the car to get. I come back, he staples the passport and forms (now 2) together and says I need to bring N2500 for FRSC and N1500 for VIO.
I snatch my form from him and walk to the office block. Ask someone else who directs me to Room 5 window. Bose (as I later heard someone call) collected the forms and asked me to join the waiting group outside.
I see a number of men called to a desk to sign and collect their licenses. I tried to ask the guy next to me if he began his process online, dude responded like ‘what you talking about?’ So, I kept quiet and readied my phone recorder to capture the next official conversation ‘where I will get asked to bring the N2500 or N1500′. But I was pleasantly disappointed. After maybe 30 minutes, someone calls my name, hands me signed forms and directs me to the VIO (Vehicle Inspection Office) block. I walk right into the office of pretty ladies. I sit, state my mission, present my forms and I’m asked to pay N1100 for tests and a Drivers’ Handbook. At first I protest the need for a test and manual when it isn’t a fresh issuance, but lady goes on to say it’s N1600 for new applicants and N1100 for renewing drivers. I calm down when I see the full fee receipted. While I move to the next desk for my eye and written test, I was soon interrupted by Officer Kareem who walked in with a presence and called my name right at the door.
I look up and behold a man of average height looking sharp in his wine on black uniform. He asked how my processing was going and that I stepped outside with him.
He had been sent by the FRSC Sector commander who saw my tweets and was intent on finding who attempted to extort in his organisation’s name. I was walked to the Sector Commander’s office ( a bit farther down) who looked very stern until I broke a laugh. I narrated my encounter to him and he detailed another officer to follow me to the gate to ‘bring him’ the officer who directed me to a tout. Here, the commander repeats the lecture Mr Kareem gave me on the walk down. That Driver licensing is a tripatite process. The Processing State Board of Internal Revenue (MVAA), Road Traffic officers (aka VIO who conduct eye and road safety tests), and then the FRSC. The FRSC is the last point of call where you capture biometrics.
Well, we go to the gate, the accompanying officer stopping at a distance from me so that the officer he should apprehend doesn’t suspect anything. Sadly I don’t find the ‘helpful’ officer again. I suspect he was on his way out when I bumped into him and asked for direction. There were three officers wearing brown-on-wine uniforms at the drive in, but none of them was at the pedestrian gate when I walked in. So I return to the commander’s aide to feed him back. Well, I return to the VIO, complete my written test, score 9 out of 10 (can’t believe I ticked ‘left’ when asked which side one should overtake from). As I finish, I’m led to another office where I meet the head of the Road Traffic Officers who says he’s called my husband already and he’d like to know at what point exactly I was extorted.
Sigh. I repeat my story again. Frankly, I was more impressed than exasperated at having to narrate my experience over and over. These bosses were not joking. They were ready to ‘hang’ whichever of their staff was culpable. I was very very impressed. I don’t even know how he got the husband’s number. When he was satisfied that his team didn’t drop the ball, he was very relieved. So I take my forms finally to FRSC.
Here, a lady, Ndidi Gertrude who later introduces herself as Head of HR at FRSC talked me through another 20minutes of what the FRSC is trying to do and how public sensitization is important. At first, she’s unhappy that I tweeted my experience rather than asking for the Process Owners (a term I learnt from her) but when I explain how much good documenting my experience in realtime did for the FRSC and the public, she relaxes and we had quite a good chat. We exchanged numbers and I think I have a friend at the FRSC now. My forms come back with more stamps and signature and I’m fine to dirve for another three months, hopefully my license don’t take so long to arrive.
Here are quick steps you should take if renewing your driver license:
1. Fill, pay and print form here: https://www.nigeriadriverslicence.org/dlApplication/renew (A)
2. Make a copy of the printed form (B)
3. Make a copy of expired license (c)
4. Get 2 passport photographs
5. Go to the Internal Revenue Office to submit A,B,C and 1 passport.
6. Take stamped and signed docs to VIO
7. Pay N1100 if renewing (or N1600 if new application)
8. Obtain receipt and Drivers’ handbook.
9. Take eye and written test.
10. If capturing, proceed to Data Capturing (FRSC)
11. If not, photocopy all docs, obtain FRSC stamps and signatures at no fee.
12. You’re good to go!
Note: If you bypass capturing, you won’t be issued a temporary drivers’ license. You’ll need to keep you forms in your car at all times until the license is out.
Hope this helps.