Disquiet as Lagos VIS Head is removed
There is disquiet in the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service, VIS, as the head of the agency, Gbolahan Toriola is removed and redeployed.
Findings revealed that the VIS boss stepped on ‘big’ toes and he was removed from the agency to serve as punishment.
Toriola was redeployed by the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola in a circular recently. He was redeployed to the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, a ministry completely unrelated to transportation.
The VIS is on a special cadre and officers of the agency are not redeployed to other ministries because of their expertise in vehicle services until they attain the position of permanent secretary.
Since his redeployment, VIS officers are fully back on the road and causing traffic nuisance, using the old method to operate.
To the chagrin of all, Toriola was replaced with Akin Fashola who joined the civil service in 2015 as an Assistant Director on grade level 15. He was posted to the VIS in 2017. He was not employed on VIS cadre and is not a cadre officer, according to our findings. Two years later, he has been made the head of the VIS.
Unconfirmed report had it that Fashola is a cousin of the HOS.
PM News’ investigation revealed that after much protest, the HOS further redeployed Toriola from Ministry of Works to the administrative department, Ministry of Transportation.
The VIS, formerly known as Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIO, prior to 2012, was a unit in the ministry of Transportation. The administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola established a special cadre for the unit and converted it to a department. The conversion was implemented in 2013, with the new name VIS.
This means that officers of the agency cannot be redeployed to other ministries because of the expertise and knowledge about the transportation sector in the state. With the conversion, Toriola because substantive VIS director in 2013 being the most senior officer in the cadre and has gone on several training, including that of the United Nations.
During the administration of the immediate past Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, VIS officers were taken off the road and asked to embrace technology rather than causing traffic gridlock on the road while trying to check vehicle papers and apprehend offenders.
There was great joy when Ambode ordered them to leave the road and employed the use of technology to carry out their activities. They were off the road for a long time studying to find the right technology to employ to tackle vehicles nuisance in the Lagos metropolis.
It was gathered that trouble started for Toriola when he removed one Animashaun, who is the brother of Gbolahan Animashaun in the Deputy Governor’s office, from being head of Coker-Aguda VIS over alleged sharp practices. Animashaun was redeployed to Oke-Odo.
After the swearing in of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Animashaun was said to have lobbied the Head of Service for redeployment out of Oke-Odo.
Government sources said the HOS ordered that Animashaun should be brought back to his former posting. Because the order was delayed, he was said to have threatened to take action against the VIS boss.
It was gathered that Animashaun was redeployed back to Coker Aguda as zonal head on his request in order to allow peace to reign.
Sources said other issues, such as GOKADA culminated in his removal. It was learnt that since the operation of GOKADA was contrary to the Lagos Road Traffic law baring them from plying about 475 roads in the metropolis, operators were said to have lobbied the HOS for a stay of the order baring them from plying restricted routes, such as expressways, bridges and others having invested so much in the business.
With insistence by Toriola that allowing them will go against the traffic law, he was said to have incurred the wrath of the HOS who would not want to be challenged.
However, it is on record that the VIS under Toriola introduced the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology for the verification of prescribed particulars. It is a robust database management system available such as lagroute.org, where detailed information of the owner can be obtained without necessarily stopping the Vehicle through the integration of the technology of the relevant agencies data bases.
Also, it is also on record that the VIS increased its revenue generation from N175.8 million to N2.24 billion between 2007 and 2018.
At its Ojodu office, there is theintroduction of e-testing for drivers licence applicants, introduction of magnetic optical/ Autovin technology for pre–registration inspection and the introduction of ANPR technology for the enforcement of traffic rules and regulation, among several other achievements.