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How to verify vehicle proof of ownership in Nigeria

Everyone would love to have a car. If you’ve got the money, I’m sure you’re already in the market searching for the neatest ride that meets your budget. However, purchasing a car in Nigeria isn’t as easy as ABC, especially when you’re buying a used car. 

Paying for the car is one thing, carrying out all the necessary paperworks to make you the legitimate owner of the car is another. There are still other proceedings involved. The worst thing you’d do is buy a car from an illegitimate owner – it most likely would be a stolen car. 

To avoid such a situation, you should always verify proof of ownership. If the name you discover corresponds with the person you already know as the owner of the car, then you’re safe. Otherwise, you should ask questions. 

But how do you go about this? Well, in this article, I’ll be explaining how you can verify vehicle proof of ownership in Nigeria. 

Ways To Verify Vehicle Ownership In Nigeria 

You can verify vehicle ownership in Nigeria in more than one way. The major thing you need is the vehicle plate number. First, let’s look at what vehicle plate numbers are all about: 

Nigerian Vehicle Plate Numbers 

Nigerian vehicle plates are usually white with a blue number. They have the Nigerian flag or national coat of arms in the upper left corner. The state name and slogan are at the top of the plate, while “Federal Republic of Nigeria” is printed at the bottom.

Here’s a typical example of a Nigerian vehicle plate number – GHC-627KO. The first three letters – the alphabets – identify the Local Government Area where the car was registered, followed by three digits and two letters. The background is a Nigerian map outline. Until 2011, the three letters identifying the Local Government Area were at the end, as in KO627-GHC.

Other license plates are used in Nigeria. For example, plate numbers of government cars are green while that of commercial cars are red. Diplomatic plates are purple and green with white letters – first two/three digits represent the owner’s country, followed by two letters and numerals. 

Hence, if you know the vehicle plate number, you should have an idea what type of vehicle/vehicle owner to expect. For instance, if someone is trying to sell you a vehicle with green plate numbers, you should know immediately that it’s a government car. 

If you’ve got that, here’s are the options you have to verify vehicle ownership: 

  1. SMS Verification 

The easiest method to verify ownership of a vehicle in Nigeria currently is by SMS. For this, you just need a phone that supports SIM – it doesn’t have to be a smart phone. If you’ve got the phone, here’s what you should do: 

  • Send “VerifyPlateNo the Plate Number” to 33324

For instance, if the plate number is GGE-573SD, you should text “VerifyPlateNo GGE573SD” to 33324. As you can see, you don’t have to separate the plate number. Note that it doesn’t matter if the letters are capitalised or not. In other words, you can as well text “verifyplateno gge573sd” to 33324. 

After you send the SMS, you should get a reply in a short while with information about the plate number. Among the info you receive should be the name of the vehicle owner. 

  1. Visit The Police Station 

Another option is to visit the nearest police station and explain why you need to verify the owner of a vehicle’s license plate. Going to the police is a good option if you’re trying to identify a vehicle owner for crime purposes. For example, perhaps the car was used in a robbery or kidnap – the victim could be you or someone else. 

It’s best if you can provide as much information about the case as possible to the officers, as they can help you not only identify the car owners and culprits but will also keep track of further developments. A police report of the incident gives you the right to know the name of the owner of the license plate number you submitted. 

Most often than not, if you’re taking the matter to the FRSC, you’ll have to present a police report.

  1. Visit an FRSC Office 

Each Nigerian state has an FRSC office, with some having numerous locations. For information on where all FRSC offices in Nigeria are located, you can visit their official website. You’ll be asked for your police records, so bring them with you. Before providing the owner’s information, they will also ask you a few questions to verify the validity of your primary purpose.

What about the website? 

Before now, there was a website to check vehicle plate numbers. This website was created by the Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) and the State government. It was created to assist both law enforcement and drivers in confirming vehicle enrollment online quickly at roadblocks. Also, to stop drivers from being harassed by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other security offices. 

The site is called MVR Search (MVRS). Initiated by the Lagos State Science and Innovation Service. The site is linked to a database of all legally registered vehicles in Lagos and other Nigerian states. Unfortunately, the website no longer functions.

Bottom Line 

Occasionally, the necessity to identify a vehicle’s owner arises. Perhaps you want to buy a car, or to report the driver for speeding or other related violations. With the information in this article, you’ll know how to go about it.