Design And Implementation Of An Online Vehicle And Plate Number Registration And Identification System In Nigeria

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1.1     Background of study

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 regions (Northern, Western and Eastern). Thereafter, 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 office 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 Vehicle Inspection Office. Vehicle registration is the process of adding a vehicle to the motor vehicle register and issuing it with registration plates. Vehicle licensing is the payment of a fee for the use of motor vehicle on public roads. When the fee is paid, you receive a label indicating the expiry date of the license. This label must be displayed on the vehicle.

In Nigeria, there are three arms of government agencies that are responsible for automobile licensing, registration and control. They are Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the state Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO) and the state Board of Internal   Revenue (BIR). The usual practice is for an owner to visit these three arms for the necessary payment, data collection and issuance of necessary documents and materials such as plate numbers. The state board of internal revenue collects fees for new automobile licenses and registration from owners through a designated bank. They may request more documents such as custom papers, purchase receipt, or a change of owner certificate on automobile.

Every automobile within the nation must be registered under a state and a local government before a license plate is issued. Nigerian automobile registration plates often have the state written at the top and have a group of three letters at the right hand side, indicating the district of registration followed by their main town to aid in tracing and identifying location. License plates serve to help law enforcement, motor vehicle authorities and others identify a vehicle while simultaneously indicating that the registrant has paid the proper registration fee and taxes on the automobile. License plates also offer information such as the weight class, the country, state and local government in which the vehicle is registered, use restrictions (private or commercial) and the age and engine capacity. In addition, some license plates show whether the owner of the vehicle is a member of special organization or group such as the police force, custom and the federal road safety commission. Moreover proof of ownership certificates are issued to owners of automobiles on payment of certain fee by the board.

Apart from other advantages, this will now replace the manual process of registering vehicle, issuing during licensing, renewing expired licenses, as well changing of ownership of the vehicle. Since the computerize mode of operation is flexible and accurate record keeping assured, it will give the management of the motor licensing authority enough time for planning and decision making rather than being immersed in the detail of routing function (manual work).

This is necessary since the control of any establishment alternatively lies in the hand of management. Also, the computerized operations of the licensing authority will ensure a very fast retrieval of necessary information about (e.g.) vehicle information to the police in terms of urgent need like during that of road accident.

In this research work, interaction will be created on the computerization and implementation of motor vehicle licensing authority at the three level organization; vehicle inspection officer, (VIO), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Board of Internal revenue, which are required to monitor the processes that are involved starting from the exact date of motor vehicle is registered, licensed, renewed, etc.

In the early 80s, the vehicle licensing system then was that each vehicle was licensed based on the local government issuing the licenses. For instance, a vehicle licensed from Ikorodu could bear (LAG 28 IKD) as plate number. Later with the formation of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in February 18, 1988, many procedures were changed, the plate number format and their various slogans. Also it was made constitutional under the motor vehicle administration as a Residual issue under the 1999 Nigerian constitution that a person seeking for vehicle licensing must first possess the National driving license.

Motor vehicle administration is a composite process and revolves around the management and the control of motor licensing including driving and other related licenses which include the following matters:

1.     Issuance and renewal of:

i.            Motor vehicle licenses

ii.            Local driving license

iii.            Learners permit

iv.            Certificate of Roadworthiness of all licenses issued

2.     Registration of vehicle

3.     Preparing and keeping of statutory Registers of all licenses issued.

4.     Collection of fees emanating from its operation and payment of same into the appropriate subhead of the state government’s account.

Motor vehicle licensing system on the other hand is a phenomenon that is still estranged to the Nigerian terrains. Though many western countries e.g. United States of America and some Asian countries have implemented online licensing in one form or the other; it is yet to gain popularity in this part of the world. The obvious merit of online motor vehicle licensing system prompted this research project to see ways of integrating our vehicle licensing to the internet for speed, efficiency, reliability and customer satisfaction.

In a highly populated country such as Nigeria, where a number of car owners increases yearly, and the registration of motor vehicle is a slow process and sometimes in the sense of it a difficult task. This is true in the sense that motor vehicle licensing authority/ system attend to thousands of cars per year; thereby keeping records of license and their registrations manually was a tedious work. It resulted in files containing records of application being misplaced, damaged or misfiled due to the way the manual method of writing these records. Also writing records of applicants in books affected the span of the record materials, and since the continue use and re-use of these booklets everyday might lead to wear and tear which eventually led to loss of important information.

1.2     Statement of the problem

The basic problems facing motor vehicle licensing are: lack of proper security in the system that creates avenue for fraud and manipulation of stored data in the system, lack of proper, accurate and concise information about the vehicle owner, poor performance of the system during information retrieval due to inefficient storage of data, lack of proper and accurate record keeping of stored information and finally lack of review process: this is a situation where there is no avenue created for review. This hinders adequate maintenance of the system.

1.3     Objective of study

The aims of this study are:

§  To develop software that will link by computerization all the procedures of motor vehicle licensing system in motor license authority (that is, to have a centralized system).

§  To improve the system performance and efficiency.

§  To enhance the database for proper information and record keeping.

§  To provide a reliable security access in order to avoid tempering with stored data.

§  To provide a means of accessibility in case of accident and emergency.

§  To enhance speedy recovery of stolen vehicles

1.4     Significance of the study

The significance of this study is to serve better than the existing system, enhance database and improve effectiveness, efficiency and security of the system. Also to give appropriate attention and quick access to prospective application. It is also intended that the study will assist in the development of a new and hopefully better computer aided system.

1.5     Scope of study

The research work is restricted to motor vehicle licensing procedure that can take place in the motor licensing office. This procedure involves an individual registering to obtain vehicle license if the client meets up with the procedure.

1.6   Project Report Organization

This research work has five distinct chapters.  Chapter one contains introduction, background of the study, statement of problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study and the scope of the study. Chapter two is the review of related literature, while chapter three is the system analysis and design. Chapter four presents the system implementation with choice of programming language and the system requirements. Chapter five contains summary, recommendations and conclusion. There is also bibliography and appendix.

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