In Nigeria, motor vehicle administration dates back to the colonial days with the coming of roads
that linked the ports, regional capitals, and other places of economic activities of the country.
Before 1939, vehicle inspection was carried out by the Directorate of works while motor
licensing was carried out by the motor licensing officer under the Federal Ministry of Finance.
During the Second World War, officers from the Directorate of works were drafted from Nigeria
to serve in the colonial regiment of England. Consequently, the Directorate of work could no
longer carry out the responsibilities of vehicle inspections. On 1st January 1949, the road traffic Act was promulgated by the colonial administration. It was an Act to regulate and control vehicular traffic on the highways and the licensing of such vehicles and persons in charge as well
as matters incidental thereto. This in effect is motor vehicle administration. As a result of this
development, the Inspector General of Police was mandated to undertake the responsibilities of
vehicle inspection as well as driver licensing and enforcement of the traffic rules regulations
until 1958 constitution of Nigeria conferred the powers on Regional Government to promulgate
their own traffic laws.
The regions adopted the existing Modus Operandi; thus the Inspector General of Police
continued to serve as the Principal licensing officer. This was however relinquished with the
creation of inspection units under Mechanical Departments of Ministry of works of the then regions by the Prime Minister through a majority vote with effect from April 1963. Hence, the
promulgation of Caps. 118 of 1963, 115 of 1965, and 116 of 1967 for Northern Nigeria, Western
and Eastern Nigeria respectively. However, with the coming into force of these laws and
regulations, the nation witnessed a positive change in Motor Vehicle Administration. Drivers
were properly tested and licensed, vehicles were fully inspected and certified and the Vehicle
Inspection Officers (V.I.O.s) were properly conducting routine checks on all roads to ensure road
safety. At the same time collection of road tax as revenues being paid promptly by defaulters
who were brought to book. Thus, the creation of states out of the then regions witnessed
transferring of these functions to the states and later, the FCT.
FUNCTIONS OF VIO:
1)Training and testing of applicants for Driver’s license
2)Testing and training of applicants for Rider’s card
3)Organizing seminars and public lectures.
4)Carrying out inspection of vehicles involved in accidents
5)Certification of driving schools
6)Co-operating with other agencies to enforce traffic rules and regulations
7)Providing accessible emergency services
8)Co-operating with relevant agencies engaged in road safety activities or in the prevention
of accidents on the highways
9)Preparing and keeping statutory registers and a database of all certificates issued and
Upon stopping a vehicle on the road, a VIO is permitted to ask to see the following items:
As a Private vehicle driver:
First Aid kit
Spare fan belt
As a Commercial vehicle driver:
Hackney/stage carriage permit
Vehicle’s accordance with state-approved commercial color
Two crash helmets (Motorcycle)
2 Federal judges have ruled that the VIO does not have any business stopping vehicles on the road. In which legal system did you get that the VIO is permitted to inspect documents and car accessories.
Is certificate of road worthiness applicable to private car owner in Nigeria?
This site is passing wrong information to the public…please see the case of Edun Vs Delta State Government…it was further held at the court of appeal that VIOs have no business on the road and that any vehicle inspection is to be done in their office.
Please be guided.