A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday condemned the imposition of new number plates on motorists ruling it as unconstitutional. The new number plates were introduced by the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, with a threat to impound vehicles and arrest motorists who fail to comply with the October 1st deadline.

Delivering judgment in a suit filed by Emmanuel Ofoegbu, a lawyer, against the FRSC,  judge James Tsoho said that it was unlawful for the commission to impose the new number plates on Nigerians, where no existing law permitted it.

“The issue of redesigning new number plates by the respondent, is not covered under the provisions of any law in Nigeria. The respondent (FRSC) cannot force Nigerians to acquire new plate numbers by impounding cars, without the backing of any legislation to that effect.

“I hold that the act of the respondent amounts to an arbitrary use of power, and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional. Judgment is therefore entered in favour of the plaintiff, and all the reliefs sought is hereby granted, I so hold,” he declared.

Mr. Ofoegbu filed the suit on September 30, 2013, through a Human Rights Activists, Ogedi Ogu, challenging the power of the FRSC to impound vehicles of motorists who failed to acquire the new numbers.

He sought a declaration that the threat by the FRSC to impound vehicles of motorists, who failed to acquire the new number plates, was invalid and unconstitutional.

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