Up against tinted glass vihicles
The senate was upbeat recently when one of its members, Senator Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom North-east), stood before his colleagues to lead the debate on a Bill he sponsored that seeks to liberalise the process of granting permit to Nigerians to enable them use vehicles with tinted glass.
Entitled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Tinted Glass) Act CAP M21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2011 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith,” said while the reasons behind the extant laws are appreciated, there was no distinction between factory and manually fitted tints.
“This is making it rather far-fetched, particularly when it is clear that the person who buys the car did not have a hand in fitting the car with the tint as different from a person who voluntarily fits the tinted glass.
“It is clear that the police have commenced impounding cars that are fitted with tinted glasses – factory or manually fitted. This operation which the police are currently carrying out is now being seen by the citizens as a sort of discrimination.
“The Principal Act, under which the Nigeria Police Force is currently exercising the powers against the driving of tinted glass vehicles, limits the exercise of such discretion as to permission and exemption to the twin conditions of health and security in Section 1(2) of the Act,” he further argued.
The ovation that greeted the Bill at the Senate was not unexpected. A number of motorists, including the lawmakers, have been going through harrowing times in the hands of policemen on the highways in the name of stop-and-check to ascertain whether proper permit was given for the tinted glass in their vehicles.
One or two, or even more of them might have had some difficulty in the past procuring the necessary permit from the police authority for their tinted glass vehicles. It’s no news anymore that there’s no member of the National Assembly, ‘the real representatives of the people’ that visits his or her constituency without driving in tinted glass vehicles.
So, Enang’s Bill is it stands, is the perfect response to the Abubakar’s menacing directive. It will among others ensure that police would cease to harass the lawmakers and other government officials, the rich, the journalists and other professionals as well as members of the growing community of criminals in the country who cruise in vehicles with tinted glasses.
Given the motif of the amendment, I feel that the ongoing exercise, at the end of the day, will be producing a piece of legislation that will largely benefit first and foremost, the legislators. No problems at all. After all, some schools of thought are of the view that there is no morality in politics, so it does not really matter if a legislator spearheads the passage of a Bill that will ultimately serve his personal interests
Reading the lips of the lawmakers, it is clear that “the people’s representatives” are not only ego-driven, but also selfish. Senator George Sekibo (Rivers-west), told his colleagues that: “My driver drove out one day in Port Harcourt and he was held for about two hours, I called and they did not release him so I had to send some people to go and rescue him, my security personnel went and rescued him. He was harassed because he was driving a tinted vehicle.
“I believe he was so treated because he was not carrying my Senate official number. I may not be in the Senate forever and after now we will be facing the same harassment other Nigerians are facing. For me, the Bill is trying to address a very fundamental issue.”
Another senator, Bolowaji Kunlere (Ondo-south), said: “Only last week (three weeks ago) I nearly became victim of this law because I have a car that I call airport shuttle. I was not in the car and there was no policeman in the car, they went to the airport to pick somebody on my behalf in Akure, the fellow was arrested. I had to call them to say I am sorry. I was directed to go to Abuja to register the car; I told them that they should give me some time. That was why they obliged me.”
Yet another senator, Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa-west), said it was unfortunate that the extant law which was made to prohibit manually-fitted glasses is now being extended to factory fitted glasses.
Enang, the sponsor, said passing the Bill would end the controversy trailing the directive by the Inspector General of Police banning affected vehicles from Nigerian roads.
But the police feel that: “Intelligence reports and empirical statistics at the disposal of the Police Force indicate that majority of crimes relating to terrorism, suicide bombing, kidnapping, gun-running, human trafficking, armed robbery and other related offences are committed with the use of vehicles with tinted glasses. Perpetrators of these heinous crimes hide under the cover of tinted glasses to ply their nefarious trade. It has therefore become a matter of urgent national security importance that indiscriminate use of vehicles with tinted glasses be checked in accordance with our laws,”
My dear lawmakers, apart from your impressive responses to the menacing presence of policemen on the highways, have you reckoned with the fact that vehicles with factory tinted glass are not the exclusive preserve of men and women of good conscience in the society? The criminals in our midst also have the means to mop up such vehicles anywhere in the country and deploy same to criminality.
I strongly feel that rather than reduce crime in the society; the Bill, if passed, has the potential to exacerbate it. Liberalising the process of securing the permit by extending the powers to issue same to state police commissioners could heighten the abuse level in the long run.
The obsession of Nigerians to own and ride in tinted glass vehicles makes us accessory-after-the-fact to the growing insecurity in the country. If we subscribe to the maxim that evil thrives in the dark, why then don’t we like to breakdown the wall by taking steps to enact laws that will in the end enhance the fight against criminality.
Why would a legislator, who is not a principal officer, revel in the luxury of having himself cocooned in tinted glass vehicles even while in his constituency, as revealed above? Are you no longer the ‘true’ representative of the people? Can I remind you that all that vein luxury and false protection that you seek to build for yourself under the guise of liberalizing the process for Nigerians is akin to building a mansion on a sandy soil. The truth is that if you ride in a plain-glass car, you are indeed driving without fear because the simple meaning of security is “the absence of fear”.
We are as safe as we feel. I was in Sokoto recently; went round unguided during the few days I spent there. Each day I strained my ears if I could hear the sound of siren from the any part of the city, but none. I saw senior state government officials drive themselves without police orderlies. I saw a governor who takes delight in sitting behind the steering wheel riding freely in the city. I also saw a governor who has no armoured vehicles, yet he is as free as the air with his people! This sounds strange, go check it out. Amending the extant law on tinted glass to immune yourselves does not portray you as a people that have taken a global view at the threats posed by such liberalisation.
On domestic staff: Exercise great caution while hiring cooks, drivers and house-helps
On business deals: Exercise great caution while discussing business deals with your business partners. Most kidnappings are organised by such people including relations.
If a relative is victim: Call 767, or 112
Source: Lagos security agencies
WHILE AT HOME
• Know your surroundings well to detect strange faces.
• Install CCTV cameras at home or office to monitor movements of people around.
•Keep emergency numbers within reach at all times.
• Create speed dial numbers in your mobile phones in case you find yourself in difficult situations.
• Avoid giving out any personal information such as phone numbers and home addresses on social network, website or to unknown persons.
• Create a peep hole in your door where u can check-out visitors at your door before letting them in.
• Opt for clear glass windows to observe any person from a distance if you do not have a gate or fence, lock all doors at all time.
• Watch what and where you speak especially on the phone outside your house.
• Do not discuss financial matters within the hearing of domestic staff and neighbours.
• Inform only trusted neighbours of your movement out of town
• Do not keep huge sums of money at home.
• Always ask for identity of persons who pose as utility staff, security officer before you open your door.
•Ensure all doors are locked.
• Make good use of your side and inner mirrors.
• Ensure that a reasonable gap is giving to vehicle in your front.
• When you observe a vehicle following you behind persistently give away, but when danger is anticipated drive to a safe place like a populated area.
• While driving close to your house and you notice unfamiliar faces around your premises keep moving and drive to a safe place.
• Observe the movement of persons while driving in and out of your home.
• Enter vehicle only at recognised motor packs.
• Do not board a vehicle with only a few passengers inside, they may be kidnappers.
•Avoid night journey except when it becomes necessary.
•Avoid lonely routes.
Source: Edo State Police Command
RECOVERED VEHICLES IN LAGOS STATE – (9)
Vehicles Reg . No Location
Toyota Camry AP 154 SMK Yaba
Mit. Galant AL 577 AUC Onikan
Mazda 626 DS 616 LSD Iju
Suberu Legacy CM 935 FST R.R.S
V/Wagon Golf AGG 194 AA Oshodi
Hyundai CA175 TAW Ijesha
Toyota Corolla TQ 965 KJA Ipakodo
V/Wagon Golf NK 911 KJA Apapa
Ford Explorer SMK 588 AJ Sabo
Hyundai Accen DL 253 GGE Ogudu
Nissan Quest BJ 890 BDG Ogudu
Hyundai Accen DY 669 A01 Dopemu
V/Wagen Golf XM 583 EKY Mushin
V/Wagen XB 384 GGE V/Island
Honda Crv ES 101 FST Scorpion Base
Toyota Sienna UNEREG Scorpion Base
Honda Accord GF 97 KSF Scorpion Base
Toyota Sienna FKJ 680 AAA Scorpion Base
Nissan Pathfind LSD 359 AH Area ‘N’
Toyota Camry DN 720 JJJ Ogombo