The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has stated that contrary to yesterday’s reports emanating from a Federal High Court verdict on Wednesday which nullifed its powers to issue the new number plates, the judgment did not vacate its statutory powers to design and produce new number plates.
The commission said what the court said was that it lacked the statutory authority to fix the deadline for the enforcement of the number plates.
This clarification was made yesterday by the commission’s Commander, Corps Public Education Office, Mr. Jonas Agwu, saying the ruling specified that the FRSC had the powers to design and produce the number plates as a national policy.
Agwu said: “The 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 October 1, 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.â€
However, he noted, in another verdict, Justice Tsoho had in case 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.
Agwu explained that the court also ruled that by discharging their duties, officials 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 favour of the FRSC with a cost of N150,000.00 against the plaintiff”, he said.
However, when contacted, the commission’s Legal Adviser, Assistant Corps Marshal George Olaniran, commended the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, for conceding that the FRSC has statutory powers to design and produce the number plate but that the corps will appeal the courtâ€™s verdict on the FRSC powers to set deadline for a change over to the new number plate.
According to Olaniran, the FRSC did 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.