Traffic laws and regulations in Nigeria were inherited from colonial administration. The first Edith is the 1920 Road Traffic Ordinance of Lagos Colony and Southern Protectorate of Nigeria which was applied to the operations of all motor vehicles until the country was demarcated into region (Northern, Western and Eastern). Thereforeafter, each region was empowered to promulgate its traffic regulations.
Before 1939 vehicle inspection was carried out by the Directorate of Works, while Motor Licensing was supervised by the Motor Licensing officer under finance.
As a result of critical issue with the colonial regiment of England during the world war, the Inspector General of Police was mandated to undertake the responsibility of vehicle inspection as well as Motor Licensing until the 1958 Constitution of Nigeria which conferred powers on regional (State) government to create their own traffic laws.
On 1st January 1949, the Road Traffic Act was promulgated which is available to the Road Traffic Act chapter 548 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990). It is this Act (1949) that gave birth to VIO.
The establishment of the Directorate of Motor Vehicle Administration (formally know as VIO) in the Federal States of the Country and FCT was a product of the 1980 International Treaty on the Harmonization of Highways legislations in the ECOWAS Sub-region signed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, that approved the setting up of appropriate machinery in member state to be responsible among other thing for: Registration of Vehicle, Issuance of Drivers License, Organizing of Technical Inspection of Vehicle and compilation of statistics, movement of goods and passengers by roads.
In order to achieve these objectives and to be able to carry out its functions efficiently and effectively, the FCT Road Traffic Services created the following mandate Units:-
- DTT (Drivers Testing and Training) charged with the responsibility of training and re-training, testing of all categories of drivers, issuance of license to passed/qualified person and generate database for all drivers test (passed/failed), revenue resulting from the activities and security purposes.
- CMR (Central Motor Registry) is to ensure adequate and accurate documentation, establish reliable database, feed back effect ability of documentations and registration of vehicles, change of categories and change of ownership.
- Operatiosns Unit is charged with enforcement of road traffic and regulations and project good image as the “door” to Road Traffic Administration in FCT.
- Inspection and Maintenance Unit is responsible for pre-registration and Routine Inspection of Motor Vehicles/Motorcycles/Tri-cycles for Road Worthiness, accident/special inspection and issuance of relevant certificate.
- MLA (Motor Licensing Authority) is responsible for the receipt of all accruable revenue from Motor Vehicle related activities of the Road Traffic Services under various Heads and Sub-Heads in the DRTS.
- Administration is backup of all other Units administratively of human and material resources management for optimal benefit to the general public.
- Other Unit such as Audit, IT, Finance and Account, Store, Servcom, Logistics and Legal – also among the units in Directorate Headquarters.
ROAD TRAFFIC AREA COMMANDS
For proper coverage and coordination, efficient, effective and prompt service delivery in FCT, the Road Traffic Services established the following Traffic Area Commands in the Area Council Headquarters and City centers of the FCT.
- FEDERAL CAPITAL CITY (FCC)
- City Ops I
- City Ops II
- City Ops II
- AYA Asokoro
- Area One Garki – Besides Area One Secretariat
- ONEX – Urban Mass, Maitama
- Federal Secretariat – Central Area
- AREA COUNCILS
- Gwagwalada Taffic Area Commands – SDP Junction
- Kwali Traffic Area Commands – Temporarily closed down
- Abaji Traffic Area Commands – Temporarily closed down
- Bwari Traffic Area Commands – Area Council Secretariat
- Nyanya – Besides Nyanya Market
- Kuje Traffic Area Commands – Temporarily closed down
Area Commander heads each of these Area Commands. The DRTS also manages the Auto Pounds at Gosa.