The controversy over ban on tinted glass vehicle


The Police High Command has observed with concern the unnecessary controversies that have trailed the recent IGP’s announcement on the ban on the indiscriminate use of tinted glasses on vehicles plying Nigerian roads.

The Force has observed that one of the issues that have generated so much contention and sometimes endless arguments between Police Officers enforcing the ban on the one hand, and motorists on the other hand, is the contention by some vehicle owners that there is no valid law restricting the use of tinted vehicle glasses in Nigeria. Others who claim to be aware of the legal restriction argue that because the tints on their glasses are ‘factory-fitted’, they are under no legal obligation to obtain a permit. Yet, others hinge their arguments and objections on the fact that their car tints are not as dark as others and thus, should be excused from the requirements of obtaining permits.

While some of these arguments may sound persuasive or even plausible, they are unfortunately devoid of any known legal foundation. Nigerian Laws are unequivocal in their restrictions on the use of tinted vehicle glasses. For instance, regulation 66(2) of the National Road Traffic Regulations (1997) provides that:
‘All glasses fitted to a vehicle shall be clear and transparent to enable persons outside the vehicle see whoever is inside the vehicle and the glasses shall in no way be tinted except as may be approved by the Inspector-General of Police for security reasons.’ (Emphasis mine)

a vehicle with tinted glass
a vehicle with tinted glass

However, it will appear that the most comprehensive legislation on the use of tinted car glasses in Nigeria is the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Tinted Glass) Act, CAP M21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Formerly Decree No. 6 of 1991).

According to Section 1 (1) of this Act, except with the permission of the ‘appropriate authority’ and for ‘good cause’, “no person shall cause any glass fitted to a vehicle to be tinted, shaded, coloured lightly or thickly, darkened or treated in any way so as to render obscure or invisible persons or objects inside the car”. Under the Act, it is also an offence to aid, counsel or procure the commission of the offence.

From the reading of the law, it is clear that the law made no distinction between manually fitted tints and factory fitted tints.

For purposes of the Law, ‘appropriate authority’ refers to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) or any other person duly delegated by him, while ‘good cause’ means health or security reasons. The implication of the above is that it is only the IGP or any such person or persons duly authorized by him that can issue a tinted glass permit. In addition, such permit can only be issued on health or security grounds.

Owners of vehicles with tinted glasses are therefore mandated by law to seek the authorization of the IGP before deploying such vehicles on our roads, whether such vehicles came with factory tints or whether the tints were manually fitted.

However, by the operation of Section 3 of the Act, such persons – importer, buyer, donee – have 14 days grace, from the date of the purchase of the car or the date of arrival of the car in Nigeria (whichever is applicable) to either remove the tinted glasses or obtain the tinted glass permit.

Persons convicted for committing offences under this Law are liable to a fine of N2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both fine and imprisonment. Where the offence is committed by a corporate body, the Police may by the operation of Section 4(2) of the Act, proceed against its director, proprietor, manager, or other senior officers of the organization.

It must be noted that legal restriction on the use of tinted car glasses is not peculiar to Nigeria.

There are many countries – both developed and developing – with similar restrictions. The law is designed to promote and protect the collective security of all, through visual transparency. It reduces the chances of persons plying vehicles with opaque glasses from ferrying dangerous objects such as explosive devices, arms, ammunition and other incriminating materials undetected from one part of the country to the other. It is also designed to enhance the smooth discharge of Police duties, by making the monitoring of motorists easy. It is therefore advisable that persons without good reason to use tinted glasses in their cars should refrain from doing so.

In Nigeria at the moment, the decision by the Police High Command to ensure a strict enforcement of the relevant laws prohibiting unauthorized use of tinted glasses on our roads is predicated on the need to effectively tackle contemporary security challenges in the land and ultimately serve the common good of all Nigerians. Intelligence reports and empirical statistics at the disposal of the Police Force indicate that majority of crimes relating to terrorism, suicide bombing, kidnapping, gun-running, human trafficking, armed robbery and other related offences are committed with the use of vehicles with tinted glasses. Perpetrators of these heinous crimes hide under the cover of tinted glasses to ply their nefarious trade. It has therefore become a matter of urgent national security importance that indiscriminate use of vehicles with tinted glasses be checked in accordance with our laws.

The good news however is that the Law authorizes the appropriate authority (in this case the IGP) to issue tinted permits to Nigerians on health and security grounds if they are so qualified. Persons desirous of obtaining tinted glass authorization are advised to follow the following steps:

(a) Write a formal application to the IGP for the use of factory tinted glasses, stating the reason for use, bearing in mind that approval of such application is predicated on health or security reasons only.
(b) Applications should be accompanied with the following:
(i) Photocopies of all relevant particulars of the vehicle.
(ii) Photograph of the vehicle.
(iii) Profile of the applicant with relevant background information.
(iv) Passport size photograph of the owner of the vehicle.
(v) Any other supporting document/information that may help to justify the request.

The Police authority conscious of the fact that some unscrupulous Police Officers may take advantage of the new regime of enforcement to engage in the harassment and extortion of helpless motorists, has issued strong warnings to all Policemen charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law to ensure that they act within the confines of the enabling laws and the Police Code of Conduct at all times.

Command Commissioners of Police have been charged to ensure strict supervision of men deployed for these duties while the IGP Monitoring Units have been empowered to arrest and bring to book any officer found acting in a manner inconsistent with his or her oath of office. Police Officers are also warned to desist from harassing Nigerians who have already obtained valid tinted glass permits, as provided by the extant laws.

Finally, the Inspector-General of Police calls for the support, understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians, including corporate citizens as the Force embarks on a strict enforcement of the tinted glass laws.


  1. Sunbare

    Frank Mba didnot tell us if the permit is free or not. God is a judge……….

  2. kbaba

    I believe a right thinking senator will sponsor the stoppage of this misinterpretation by Mba. IGP just want to enrich himself and his cohort before they leave office. God punish the devil.

  3. OMO

    I’ve it over and over again, law makers in Nigeria are animals, no common sense
    law in Nigeria.

  4. Ayomeh

    It is common knowledge that about N15,000 gets you the permit. What is N15K to the bad guy compared to what he intends to gain?
    This is another law that ONLY makes life more difficult for the good guys. Pure & simple.

  5. fakindum

    The law was clear until CSP Mba started to misinterprete it. “no person shall cause any glass fitted to a vehicle to be tinted, shaded, coloured lightly or thickly, darkened….” So if I imported a car already factory tinted, I have NOT CAUSED it to be tinted, shaded etc. What the law contemplates and disallows is having to make these alterations on a car with plain glass after purchase.

  6. Sunny

    So the publication by the Nigerian Police in march 2011, banning all permits was just to ensure they can they make money from everybody afresh. Since all permits prior to this date were all revoked.

    Despite the claim by CSP Mba that people will not be swindled, there swindling afoot in the various states.
    A friend did her own in Abuja for 15k, when we tried to do it here in Rivers, we were charged 25k. So the extra 10k goes to the state command?

  7. babanshaki

    This is just another opportunity for generating quick and easy cash for the police. It’s effectiveness on security is highly overrated. I advice the I.G to focus more attention on intelligence gathering and the proper training for police officers. The immigration service should also plug up our porous borders and stop the influx of undesirable elements into the country.

  8. adeyemi tobias ndudi

    Maybe it is illegal. The Police chrages N30,000 per car and NO RECEIPT IS ISSUED

  9. Ola

    I dont have any issues with the ban on tinted windows. However, before posting articles, they should duly find out facts before posting online. The writer wrote that in developed countries and developing there are bans on tinted windows, The ban varies and applies mostly to the front passenger and driver windows not the back windows. most SUV’s and minivans come with tints and this is primarily for the owners of children and infants to protect them from the UV rays of the sun. the ban applied is on front windows and i think that is what Nigeria should follow. Meanwhile for me personally, Owo lo ma je! police wey stop me for tint, na 1000 naira go solve am. Shikena! abuse me if you like but thats the reality of the situation back home in Nigeria

  10. Dr Kunle koleoso

    Requirement No.6 –How much egunje?
    Not provided!

  11. Dennis Ogbeide

    It is a welcome development that the Police authority has found it necessary to explain this tinted glasses for vehicles issues to the public. However, what is missing from this piece is what the majority of car owners with tinted glasses would do other than the application for permits on health or security ground. We all know that the various imported cars into the country bear one form of tinted glasses or another. To therefore declare such factory fitted specifications illegal is to literarily bound importation of such vehicles into Nigeria. This is where the confusion in this whole affair will continue.

    1. a concerned nigerian

      Thank you my brother, we do not manufacture vehicles in Nigeria and as such most of the vehicles have some tinting etc, so should people then throw away their vehicles. the problem with our country is that things are not thought through, they wake up on morning and pass such stupid laws, BK they claimed was a thing of the past and they were winning the war, that has turned out not be so, now car owners are being targeted for their failure.

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