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    Friday, March 28, 2014

    Number plate: FRSC to appeal judgment

    FRSC Corps Marshal, Osita Chidoka

    The Federal Road Safety Corps on Thursday said that it would appeal a judgment, which barred it from setting a deadline for the enforcement of its new number plate.

    The Corps Commander, Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Jonas Agwu, who stated this in a statement, explained that the judgment did not vacate the power of the FRSC to design and produce new number plates.

    Delivering a judgment in a suit filed by a lawyer, Emmanuel Ofoegbu, against the FRSC, Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Lagos, had held that the corps had no right to impose new number plates on motorists without an existing law to that effect.

    The judge had said, “The respondent cannot force Nigerians to acquire new plate numbers by impounding cars, without the backing of any legislation to that effect.

    “I hold that the act of the respondent amounts to an arbitrary use of power, and is, therefore, illegal and unconstitutional.”

    But quoting the FRSC Legal Adviser, Assistant Corps Marshal George Olaniran, Agwu said,  “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 any deadline for new number plate; rather it is under the purview of the states through the Joint Tax Board to fix a deadline for enforcement of the vehicle number plates.

    Agwu, in the statement, said, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to affirm that the court judgment 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.”

    He explained that the presiding judge ruled that the FRSC had powers to design and produce the number plate as a national policy.

    According to him, the judge cautioned that the statutory powers of the FRSC do not cover setting deadlines for conversion to the newly designed plates.

    Agwu said that the same judge had in another verdict in a suit instituted by Brent Williams Limited against the FRSC, ruled that the corps had statutory powers to determine the categories of number plates to be used by vehicles and enforce same.

    Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress has hailed the court judgment.

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