A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ruled that it
Is unconstitutional for the Federal Road Safety
Commission (FRSC) to impose new number plates on
motorists in the country.
While delivering the ruling, Justice Tosho held that it was unlawful for the respondent to impose
the new number plates on motorists, where there was no
existing law permitting same.
“The issue of redesigning new number plates by the
respondent is not covered under the provisions of any law
The respondent cannot force Nigerians to acquire new
number plates 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
Judgment is, therefore, entered in favour of the plaintiff,
and all the reliefs sought are hereby granted, I so hold,’’ he
A Human Rights
Activists, Mr Ogedi Ogu had approached the court last September to seek a declaration that the threat by the
respondents to impound vehicles of motorists, who failed to
acquire the new number plates was invalid and
In his statement of facts, the plaintiff averred that the old
plate numbers were issued under the provisions of the
National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) 2004.
He averred that the NRTR 2004, is a subsidiary legislation
made under the FRSC Act, Laws of the Federation as
revised in 2004.
According to the plaintiff, the NRTR 2012, in Regulations
230 (2), provides that the revocation of the 2004
Regulations, shall not affect anything done, or purported to
be done pursuant to that Regulation.
Ofoegbu averred that there is no law made in accordance
with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(as amended), which prohibits the use of the old plate
numbers, or declares its use as an offence.
He also averred that the threat by the respondent to
impound vehicles and arrest motorists who failed to comply
with the Oct. 1 deadline, was a gross violation of the
provisions of 36 (12) of the constitution which guarantees
the rights of individuals.
He had, therefore, urged the court to declare as unlawful,
the threat by the respondent, to arrest motorists using the
old number plates because there is no law validly made in
accordance with the constitution prohibiting its user.
The applicant had also sought an order of injunction
restraining the defendants from impounding vehicles or
otherwise arresting or harassing motorists who failed to
acquire the new number plate