The Federal High Court in Lagos has held that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) cannot arrest any motorist for not having the new driver’s licence if the old version is yet to expire.
Ruling on a suit brought by a lawyer, Mr. Tope Alabi, Justice John Tsoho granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining FRSC “from compelling the valid driver’s licence holders, including the plaintiff to renew same, when such driver’s licence has not expired.”
Alabi, who joined the National Assembly, FRSC and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as respondents, prayed the court to hold that by several sections of the FRSC Act, No. 22, 2007, the commission’s bid to control the production and issuance of number plates and driver’s licences is unconstitutional, null and void.
He prayed the court to hold that going by the provisions of sections 4 and 5 of the 2011 constitution, the production and issuance of number plates and driver’s licences is a residual matter within the exclusive legislative and executive competence of states.
The court, however, held that it was bound by the Court of Appeal decision which affirmed FRSC’s powers to issue licences and plate numbers.
However, he made an order restraining the defendants “from cracking down on those, including the plaintiff, still using their existing registered number plates on their vehicles.”
Justice Tsoho further restrained the defendants “from cracking down on those, including the plaintiff, still using unexpired driver’s licences pending the time within which same would expire and due for renewal.”
Alabi said FRSC had vowed that there was “no going back on September deadline for all Nigerians to replace their number plates and renew their unexpired driver’s licences.”
He said it was in the interest of justice to allow valid driver licence holders to make use of them pending when they will expire or be due for renewal.
Credit : ThisDay