Public Interest Lawyer Weighs In On FRSC New Vehicle Plate Number Saga
A Lagos-based public interest lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, who was one of the few Nigerians who challenged the introduction of the new number plate by FRSC in 2012, agrees with Mr Adjekuko that the Corps owes Nigerians a duty to publicise its latest court order on all media platforms before embarking on enforcement.
Besides, Mr Ogunye faulted the FRSC for abdicating its mandate and responsibility to Nigerians in pursuit of the revenue generating agencies’ role.
“If the FRSC informed Nigerians of the suspension of enforcement of the directive, now that it claims it has a fresh court order for them to recommence the enforcement of the earlier directive, I believe they have a duty to inform Nigerians through publications of the judgment in all media platforms,” Mr Ogunye said.
He said FRSC was not established as a revenue generating agency, but to ensure safety on federal highways.
He said what the FRSC is doing is not only enforcing indiscriminately its rules even on state roads in violation of the federal principle, but also elevating revenue generation above its core mandate.
The new vehicle number plate and driver’s licence were introduced by the FRSC in 2011.
Consequently, the Corps announced the old number plates would be phased out by August 2012.
However, the enforcement of the directive was mired in controversy as some Nigerians took the matter to court.
By November 2012, the FRSC was compelled to extend the deadline by a year, with a warning using old number plates would not only become illegal by September 30, 2013, but also an offence effective October 1, 2013.
Regardless, on September 30, 2013, Ogedi Ogu, filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos through Emmanuel Ofoegbu, a rights activist, to challenge the FRSC’ powers to enforce its directive on the old number plates.
The suit had rejected a July 15, 2013 ruling by an Anambra State High Court in Awka authorising the FRSC to go-ahead with the enforcement of the directive, as it was ‘legal and constitutional.’
Following the court’s ruling, FRSC’s plan to commence enforcement of the new number plates by October 1, 2013 was halted.
Although the Corps resolved to file an appeal, it however announced it was determined to go ahead with the enforcement of the new drivers’ licence and number plates come August 1, 2014 on the basis of the Anambra court ruling.
But, following the insistence by concerned lawyers that the federal high court’s order restraining the FRSC was still valid and subsisting, the FRSC officially announced the suspension of the enforcement notice on new number plates in 2014.
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