VIO lunches first mobile court in Cross River
By; Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar.
In a bid to ensure that traffic offenders in Cross River were made to face the law, the department of Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) has lunched the first mobile court in over 40 years in Calabar.
Speaking at the official inauguration of the court in Calabar, the Chief VIO, Engr. Paul Bepeh said that the court became necessary as most motorists complained of not having opportunity for fair hearing when charged for any traffic related offences.
Bepeh maintained that the development is not new as it had been the statutory responsibility of the VIOS to ensure that road traffic offenders were tried with the third party from inception of the agency over 40 years ago.
According to him, “this is not strange as people say because mobile court for traffic offenders has been the statutory responsibility of the VIOs since inception in the 70s. It has been a practice that has been there”.
He said “as you know, we are under the control of the state government and so most governments are not properly briefed about the duties of the VIOs or what accrued to the state coffers from their activities.
Bepeh who lamented that over the years, past administration have not keyed into the setting up of the mobile court, however commended the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade for seeing the need to empower the agency to improve upon its activities to ensure safety in all roads in the state.
While narrating his experience after appearing in the court for using worn out tires, Mr. Kingsley Eze said that he won’t condemn the development completely as it was a step at the right direction.
Eze said, “although I am surprised that I have been charged because I drove on a worn out even when I procured the four tires the same day. I want to commend them for the move and charge them to carry out aggressive sensitization campaigns because an accused can only be considered guilty for an offence he is abreast of”.
In his own remarks a commercial driver Mr. Asuquo Bassey appealed to the traffic officers to be civil while charging motorists to court.
He declared “today is my first time of appearing in the court but the officers must know that it’s not every offence that they should charge people to court. They should also consider out of court settlement for some offences”, he said.