A Berlin-based legal practitioner, Efosa Ogieriakhi, has warned Nigerians in Germany to be careful when procuring driving licence from their home country.
He gave the advice while speaking with The African Courier, revealing that he was presently handling several cases involving fake driving licences from Nigeria which were submitted to the German authorities for recognition.
Barrister Ogieriakhi, who hails from Nigeria, said that there were many cases across Germany in which the authorities had found out that the driving licences submitted were fake after checking up with the Nigerian authorities.
Unfortunately, most of the affected persons did not know that their documents were fake because they were issued at the appropriate office that is responsible for the issuance of driving licence, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
However, some unscrupulous workers at the agency acting in collusion with so-called ‘agents’ lure those seeking driving licence with the promise of a stress-free application process if they pay more than the amount normally charged by the FRSC for driving licence.
“With the amount, far higher than the government-approved rate, the applicants would not have to go through a driving school neither would they be screened by FRSC and Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) officials. They would only be invited for biometric enrolment and, and after a while, be issued with valid drivers’ licences,” Nigerian leading online newspaper Premium Times reported recently on the racketeering.
“This fraud, the investigation showed, happens with the collusion of officials of the FRSC, the VIO, owners of driving schools and third-party racketeers,” the newspaper said.
In Germany, a driving licence from a country that is not a member of the EU or the EEA (European Economic Area) is valid for six months after the owner has established normal residence in the country. After this period, the driving licence will no longer be recognised. [However, a foreign driving licence does not entitle you to drive in Germany if your normal residence was in Germany at the time you obtained the foreign licence.]
If you wish to continue driving, you will then require a driving licence issued in the Federal Republic of Germany. The conditions governing the issuing of a German driving licence vary depending on the country in which you obtained your original licence.
Generally, the original of the foreign national driving licence is submitted along with a translation into the German language and a statement declaring that the foreign driving licence is still valid.
German authorities could choose to check with the government of the country in which the driving licence was issued to ascertain its genuineness. This was how in the case of some Nigerians, the German authorities found out that the documents were fake.
“I found out my licence was fake during investigation by the police. I was invited to the police station, interrogated, and I gave my statement. Thank God there was no court process required but I had to pay a fine,” said one Nigerian about his experience. Submitting a fake document to the authorities is a crime in Europe, which often leads to prosecution for attempted fraud.
Obtaining driving license in Nigeria: The regular process
By law, an applicant for a driver’s licence is expected to start the process by obtaining Learner’s Permit. He or she is then expected to choose a driving school certified by the FRSC.
The driving school is expected to train the applicant in 26 sessions and issue a certificate after ensuring that the applicant is well grounded in driving.
The applicant then proceeds to the VIO for driving test and if successful, is issued a Driver’s Test Certificate. If unsuccessful however the applicant is entitled to apply for another test before the expiration of one calendar month from the date of the previous test.
A successful applicant is expected to proceed to make payment of prescribed fee of N6,350 or N10,450 for driver’s licence with three- or five-year validity period respectively at designated banks. He or she then proceeds to the FRSC for biometric enrolment.
The FRSC then processes and issues a temporary driver’s licence with 60 days validity to the applicant on the spot, after which they are expected to return in about two to three months for the original driver’s licence.
But in practice, investigations showed, nearly all of the listed stages are largely compromised through the collusion of the agents, the driving school, FRSC, VIO and other officials.
The Federal Ministry of Health said car crashes were the second leading cause of violent deaths in Nigeria, apart from insurgency.
In 2015, a report by the World Health Organisation, WHO, said one in four car crash deaths in Africa occurred in Nigeria, adding that car crash deaths have a higher toll than malaria in sub-Saharan African.
Kola Tella & Sola Jolaoso
To verify the authenticity of your Nigerian driving licence:
• Visit www.nigeriadriverslicence.org
• Click on DL Application
• Click on Re-Issue of Driver’s Licence from the drop down
• Supply Driver’s Licence Number and Date of Birth in the dialog box that opens
• Click on search
• Click Ok from the pop up box, after confirming the Drivers Licence number to be correct
• This will pull up your information as supplied when you processed the New Driver’s Licence
• If it does not pull up your data, it means your New Driver’s Licence is Fake and is not in FRSC Data Base
NOTE: This check is only for the NEW DRIVER’S LICENCE (D)