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Why motorists must accept new number plate regime —FRSC

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Anambra, new number plate, FRSCThe Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has asked motorists in Nigeria to accept the new number plate regime in view of its security feature designed to help government fight crime and criminality.

The corps also described as misleading and “untrue” stories in a section of the media alleging “ambush” and “extortion”, by the corps over new number plates.

Corps Public Education Officer, Mr Bisi Kazeem, while reacting to the reports, explained that pursuant to the introduction of the new number plate, the FRSC duly informed the public of the new regime and further allowed time for the replacement of the old number plate.

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He noted that the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, had also ensured that the corps undertook a public enlightenment on the security benefits of changing from the old to the new number plate, at the point of renewing their vehicle documents which has only one-year validity period.

He also recalled that item four( 4) of the communiqué issued at the end of the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), held on November 28, 2016 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, stated categorically that the renewal of vehicle particulars on the old number plates would be discontinued with effect from the next due date as a measure to check fraud and enhance revenue collection.

He said: “The security feature of the new number plate is one of the key reasons motorists are expected to accept the introduction as the National Uniform Licensing Scheme (NULS), which helps in the harmonisation of data both of vehicles and drivers information system in the central data base.”

He added that the new database also makes it easier to track and apprehend criminals, especially those involved in car theft.

Kazeem argued that the commencement of enforcement on the new number plate was in agreement with the provisions of the law as stipulated in NRTR 2012 and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that in spite of the legal battle that had caused a setback in the enforcement of the new number plate since 2013, there was currently no subsisting court order barring FRSC from enforcing  same.

It will be recalled that following the protests over the publication by FRSC of its intention to commence the arrest and prosecution of drivers or owners of vehicles using any number plate obtained under the repealed National Road Transport Regulation (NRTR) 2004 by 1st October, 2013;  Mr Emmanuel Ofoegbu instituted an action against FRSC at the Federal High Court in Lagos in FHC/CS/1332/13 Emmanuel Ofoegbu Vs FRSC.

The Federal High Court presided over by Justice JT Tsoho held inter alia that FRSC had no statutory powers to set deadlines for change-over to the new number plates since there was no enabling law to that effect.

As a result of the ruling by the court below, FRSC appealed the Judgment in the Court of Appeal and on  October 31, 2014 the court  sitting in Lagos, unanimously held that FRSC had statutory power in line with the 1999 Constitution under the FRSC (Establishment) Act 2007 and the NRTR 2012 to regulate the use of number plates and to set deadlines for change-over to the new ones as provided for in the NRTR 2012.

In the ruling upholding the power of the corps, the court said, “The court below was thus right to issue the injunction to protect the respondent’s right to the enjoyment of the new number plate of his private vehicle issued on 18-03-13 to expire on 17-03-14.

“I resolved issue 3 (supra) in the respondent’s favour with a rider that the consequential order of injunction granted by the court below was tied to the lifespan of the number plate of the respondent’s private vehicle which expired on 17-03-14.

“I will allow the appeal in part. For the avoidance of doubt, the appeal succeeds only in part to the effect that Regulations 2012 has legal force and is enforceable from 01-01-13, the administrative date assigned to it by the appellant.

“The part of the decision of the court below declaring Regulations 2012 unconstitutional and without back up legal framework is hereby set aside.”

The FRSC spokesman said though the decision of the Court of Appeal Lagos has been appealed by Emmanuel Ofegbu, there is no subsisting order of stay of execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The post Why motorists must accept new number plate regime —FRSC appeared first on Tribune.

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