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The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has suspended the enforcement of the new vehicle number plate and the driver’s licence, following two separate court judgments in Lagos and Abuja which ruled that the scheme was illegal.
The Commissionhas therefore directed its commanding officers to commence a nationwide public awareness on the new initiative for motor vehicle administration in the country, which would emphasise the benefits of the new scheme and the need for buy-in from all Nigerians.
A statement by the Commission Commander, Corps Public Education, Jonas Agwu, in Abuja yesterday, explained that the new directive was in line with decisions taken by the Joint Tax Board at its 129th meeting held on April 23 and 24, 2014, at the Headquarters of Edo State Internal Revenue Services in Benin-city.
It stated that the board suspended the June 30 deadline earlier announced for the change to the enhanced motor vehicle number plate and the driver’s licence pending the outcome of the appeal by the FRSC.
“The states Internal Revenue Service, the FRSC and the Vehicle Inspection Offices (VIO) have been encouraged to put all necessary logistics in place to improve motor vehicle registration and issuance of driver’s licence in order to build a comprehensive database,” the statement added.
The FRSC, according to the Nes Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ,equally directed its commanding officers to explore all available platforms such as motor park rallies, advocacy visits and other forms of public engagement in keeping with its 2014 strategic goal of improved public communication and road use education.
The corps re-affirmed that the court never vacated its statutory powers to design and produce the new number plate, “but only questioned its powers to fix deadline for enforcement of the new scheme, as confirmed by the recent directive from the Joint Tax Board which has the statutory powers to fix prices and set deadlines for implementation of the new number plate and driver’s license.”
It stated that the same position was taken by an Abuja Federal High Court, which declared that the FRSC has no powers to invalidate a driver or vehicle license before its expiration.