Controversy trails sale of fake number plates

Motorcyclists in Lagos are accusing the MVA handling the sale of number plates in the state of selling fake motorcycle license plates.

On the original nummber plates, the Nigerian flag is on one side and the words "Harmony and togetherness" are visibly inscribed. The fake version does not have "Harmony and togetherness" and the national flag is replaced with the national mascot.

David Johnson, a motorcyclist from Lagos, said that most motorcyclists buy the number plates without realising that they are fake.

According to him, when the plates are new, they look id but the fake ones fade faster.

Emmma Hankinson, another motorcyclist, said that she bought her number plates from the government office, yet it was discovered to be fake.

She said even though both number plates were being sold by the government, officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission and the Nigerian Police Force have continued to arrest motorcycles with the fake number plates.

But, Michael Timms, a despatch motorcycle rider, said most of his colleagues bought the fake number plates because they are cheaper than the real ones.

According to him, the fake number plates should not have been issued by the government office.

"They are just being stupid because when the police arrest them, they end up spending more than the amount to buy the original one. They get these fake ones from touts that hang around licensing offices, instead of going to the office," he said.

He also added that the licensing officers should bear part of the blame because they have not stopped the touts who produce the fake number plates.

Olusegun Ogungbemide, the unit commander of the Lagos Island Unit Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission said that although the commission does not produce number plates for Lagos, the agency arrests motorcyclists found with fake plates.

"We arrest motorcycles with plate numbers that are not recommended by our command," he said.

Reacting to the development, a director with the Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency, who refused to disclose his identity, claimed that the agency was unaware of the reported fake number plates.

&As far as we are concerned, we don't know of any fake number plate in circulation," he said. "

We only allocate the numbers from the state government to them (motorcycle riders). If there is any fake plate number, it is the police that is supposed to alert us after investigation," he added.

He also said that the agency is the only body authorised to issue number plates in the state.

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