By EBEN ENASCO KINGSLEY, Benin City
NO fewer than 500 persons were arraigned and convicted for traffic related offences in Benin City, the Edo State capital during the joint road check exercise, also known as Operation Velvet, carried out by the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS) in conjunction with other security agencies.
This was disclosed by the Executive Director, Tax Compliance, EIRS, Prince Felix Isuku, during an interview with newsmen in his office.
He claimed that the exercise which lasted for seven days had over 500 persons arraigned before the mobile traffic courts set up in ten locations across the state and convicted for various traffic offences, ranging from cases of fake drivers licence, to expired motorcycle and vehicle particulars, over loading, expired and non-possession of fire extinguishers, tinted and covered number plates.
He explained that, the exercise exposed some vehicle owners who still held expired vehicle particulars spanning over three to five years.
He said the exercise also led to apprehension of many drivers holding fake drivers license, describing it as worrisome. He however reassured that the road check exercise was meant to control it.
The tax compliance director said the exercise is a continuous one which will come in phases but that the regular checks by other traffic and security agencies will continue.
Describing the exercise as successful, Isuku remarked that most motorists complied with the exercise by visiting the one-stop-shop for vehicle registration and designated driver licence data capturing centres across the state to revalidate their vehicle particulars and also to obtain the genuine drivers licence.
Isuku informed that currently, there exists four drivers licence data capturing/registration centres in Edo State- Auchi, Ekpoma, while two others are in the Benin City metropolis with two more expected within the year.
He advised motorists to visit any of the designated places for drivers licence registration which is not done neither by proxy nor the use of passport photographs and cost no more than six thousand three hundred and fifty naira.
Expressing her view of the exercise, an applicant Susan Osaghae who acquired the temporary drivers licence said the exercise is a right step in the right direction and that she followed the application processes all by herself and paid the official fee of N6, 350.
She equally advised those still in possession of the fake drivers licence to do the right thing by visiting the approved centres for genuine data capturing.
The executive director, tax compliance, affirmed that presentation of tax clearance certificate (TCC) as a condition for the registration of motor vehicle is still in force as it is enshrined in Section 85 (4) (b) of the Personal Income Tax Act (2004) as amended.