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FRSC suspends enforcement of new number plate

By The Citizen
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The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has deferred the enforcement of the new motor vehicle number plate in line with the directives of the Joint Tax Board (JTB).

JTB had announced suspension of the June 30 deadline for motorists to change from the old to the new enhanced motor vehicle number plate and driver's licence.

A statement by the Corps Public Education Officer, Mr Jonas Agwu, in Abuja, on Thursday, added that the enforcement had to be deferred in view of the separate court judgments from Lagos and Abuja.

Agwu said the commission had, therefore, directed its commanding officers to commence robust nationwide public awareness on the new initiative for motor vehicle administration in the country, emphasising on the benefits of the new scheme and the need for buy-in from all Nigerians.

FRSC further explained that the new directive was in line with the decisions taken by the JTB after its recent 129th meeting held at the headquarters of Edo State Internal Revenue Services in Benin.

Agwu said: 'In the light of the court judgment against the FRSC, the board decided to suspend the 30th June, 2014 deadline earlier announced for a change to 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 Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Vehicle Inspection Offices (VIOs) 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,' he said.

He disclosed that FRSC had equally directed its 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.

It will be recalled that the FRSC had in response to an earlier Federal High Court verdict in Lagos on April 26, 2014, 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.

The public education officer said that FRSC had to comply with 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 licence.

This was the same position taken by an Abuja Federal High Court yesterday, which declared that the FRSC has no powers to invalidate a driver or vehicle licence before the expiry date.