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New Number Plates Would Check Accidents, Crimes, - FRSC

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ABUJA, March 26, (THEWILL) - The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Monday in Abuja defended its controversial introduction of the new vehicle number plates and driver’s license, saying that it would check accidents and crimes on Nigerian roads.

Corps Marshal of the Commission Mr Osita Chidoka, speaking at a public hearing on the matter, organised by the House committee on FRSC, claimed that it acted in accordance with the FRSC Act 2007, which empowers it to design and produce drivers licences and number plates for all categories of drivers and vehicles.

“We can effectively check accidents on our roads only by identifying owners and drivers of such vehicles. The introduction of the new vehicle number plates would also check traffic offences and crimes in the country,” he said. “Apart from the road safety issues, criminals have found vehicles as essential tool to commit crime or escape from crime scenes.”

He recalled that before the introduction of the National Uniform Licensing Scheme (NULS), licenses confiscated by officials of the commission could be easily replaced.

He also denied allegations of neglecting due process in the design of the new scheme, saying, “FRSC presented the new driver’s license and vehicle number plate schemes to the Federal Executive Council on December 2011 for approval. The Council approved the schemes and subsequently adopted the driver’s licence and vehicle number plate as security documents on January 2012. So, the policy before you is not that of FRSC but of the federal government.”

Also speaking at the hearing, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu called on the FRSC to harmonise the fee for the new vehicle number plate and driver’s license across the country, saying the disparity between the selling price of the number plate and vehicle license in some states was improper.

Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), in her presentation, confirmed that scheme was endorsed by the JTB because it had been assured that the change in the design of the new vehicle number plate and driver’s license was informed by the need to upgrade the standard of inbuilt security features in them.

But Alhaji Isa Lawal, president of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), dissented with Ifueko, faulting the new scheme as unnecessary because it lacked certain security data. “The FRSC should seek alternative methods of achieving results. And next time, relevant stakeholders should be conducted before such an initiative is brought up.”

Mr. Rotimi Alade, director of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services in Abuja blamed the exorbitant price of number plate and driver’s licence on the activities of touts and urged the FRSC to display fees charged for the new vehicle number scheme at the various motor licensing offices across the country, to check activities of fraudulent officials.