After series of court actions, the Federal Road Safety Corps cancels deadline for new number plate
| By Olu Ojewale | Mar. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, is no longer interested in giving any deadline for the enforcement of the new number plate. Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshall of the FRSC, disclosed this in an interview with journalists when he paid a courtesy visit on Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State in Umuahia, on Wednesday, February 25. Oyeyemi said the agency would abide by the court ruling which restrained the Corps from enforcing the proposal.
He said that motorists who still had the old number plate would only get the new ones when they go to renew their vehicle licences. Oyeyemi said: “We will abide by the court ruling. It was a case of double taxation to be compelled to have the new one if your licence has not expired. It is a phased approach. If your driving licence expires, you go and renew it. It is a 12-month cycle. There is no deadline again.”
But he warned that anybody caught with a fake number plate or driving licence would be prosecuted. Oyeyemi, however, insisted that the agency would not back down on the June 1, 2015, deadline for the enforcement of the speed limit device. He said that by 2016, all imported vehicles in Nigeria must have speed limit device installed in them. The policy became necessary because of the discovery that more than 15.8 percent auto crashes in the country were speed related.
Nigeria recorded 25 percent reduction in road accidents in 2014 and lesser incidents in January 2015. The hope is that that with the new device, auto crashes would be reduced by 80 per cent in 2016. He used the occasion to call on state governments to set up traffic management agencies to man state roads to enable the FRSC focus on interstate and federal roads to achieve more effective results.
The removal of deadline for the new number plate has gladdened a number of Nigerians who have been unhappy about the way the scheme has been used to extort money from Nigerians. Ebongabasi Ekpe-Juda, a security expert, said it was a policy summersault and not good for the country. He said there should be a deadline so that people everyone would key into the system and invariably help security personnel to detect criminals and traffic offenders. “It shows inconsistency of our government policy. If there is no deadline, people will not be encouraged to change their number plates and there are some crimes that if committed police can easily trace them with their vehicles,” he said. Ekpe-Juda said he was not happy that the Commission would be giving a room for people to get away with crimes with the new policy.
Callistus Onwuamanam, a public commentator, while welcoming the development said only in Nigeria could one come across an old and new plate number. “My question is what is old or new plate number? Plate number is not something that is used to beautify a car but something that is used to identify a car. So, the Nigerian terminology of old or new plate number is not necessary. It is only a design by the FRSC to divert attention from its duty. In other countries. I have visited, old cars with their old original plate numbers are very expensive to buy or to hire for ceremonies. Their insurance is almost free. In Holland, for instance, in 1999, I saw a 404 Peugeot with 1960s plate no. The FRSC should concentrate its attention on traffic discipline on our roads, arrests and prosecute offenders,” Onwuamanam said.