By Festus Fifen
Contrary to media reports emanating from an earlier Federal High Court verdict sitting in Lagos, the Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to affirm that the court judgement did not vacate its statutory powers to design and produce the new number plate but stated that the Corps lacks statutory authority to fix deadline for the enforcement of the number plate.
Ruling on a suit instituted by one Emmanuel Ofoegbu that the FRSC has been threatening in the media to arrest the plaintiff or impound his vehicle from 1st October,2013 or any other date for using vehicle number plates that are in accordance with the National Road Traffic Regulations 2004, the presiding Judge, Justice Tsoho ruled that the FRSC has powers to design and produce the number plate as a national policy but cautioned that the statutory powers of the FRSC does not cover setting deadlines for conversion to the newly designed plates.
However, in another verdict, Hon. Justice Tsoho had in case instituted by Brent Williams Limited against the FRSC, ruled that the Corps has statutory powers to determine the categories of number plates to be used by vehicles and enforce same. The court also ruled that by discharging their duties, members of the FRSC were not performing the duties of the Police but acting in line with the provisions of the FRSC Act 2007. The case was therefore dismissed in favor of the FRSC with a cost of N150,000.00 against the plaintiff.
The Corps Legal Adviser, Assistant Corps Marshal George Olaniran commended the Federal High Court Lagos for conceding that the FRSC has statutory powers to design and produce the number plate but that the Corps will appeal the court’s verdict on the FRSC powers to set deadline for a change over to the new number plate.
According to Olaniran, the FRSC does not set deadline for new number plate rather it is under the purview of the States through the Joint Tax Board to fix deadline for enforcement of the vehicle number plates.