The Nigeria Police and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Wednesday, in Abuja, disagreed over who had the right to issue vehicle number plates and keep the database of vehicles in Nigeria.
This was at the public hearing on the controversial new vehicle plates and driver’s licence by the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs.
While the police said it was the exclusive responsibility of the State Motor Licensing Authority to issue the driving and vehicle documents and the police maintain the database, it was the FRSC that was at present handling it.
A Deputy Inspector General of Police, Olajide Akano, presented the position of the police at the hearing while the FRSC Corps Marshal, Osita Chidoka, represented his commission.
Akano said new number plate registration and driver’s licence upgrading by the FRSC were illegal and a violation of the Act setting up the commission.
He told the committee that the police had already concluded arrangements on an electronic data system, Enhanced Central Motor Registration, which would capture vehicle registration in the country electronically.
The Corps Marshal of FRSC, Mr Osita Chidoka said the police had no business in the registration of vehicles “because they were not authorised by the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to do so.
“The Enhanced Central Motor Registry (ECMR) currently collected by the police is an illegal tax as far as JTB is concerned.’’
Chidoka made the remarks in Abuja at the public hearing on new number plates and drivers’ licences organised by the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs.
He referred to the communiqué of the 104th meeting of the JTB in Nasarawa State in August 2003, “which stated that road taxes were the responsibility of the states.
“The communiqué categorised ECMR as un-receipted tax by the police.
“The meeting agreed that the function of keeping motor vehicle records is statutorily by the FRSC.’’
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in charge of ICT, Mr Abdelrahman Akano told the committee that the police planned to introduce digital vehicle registration.
Akano said that motorists would be charged N3,500 and N5,000 for plain glass vehicles and tinted glass vehicles respectively.
The representative of Safety Beyond Borders (SBB), an NGO, Mr Adenusi Patrick blamed the high cost of the new number plates on the activities of touts who extorted hapless Nigerians.
“The activities of touts have made Nigerians to end up paying higher above the official cost of N15,000 for the new number plates.
“If we eliminate touting, the process of getting the new number plates will be easier and affordable.’’
Mr Idris Abdul, the Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Lokoja, said the FRSC was created for the maintenance of safety on the roads and not for revenue generation.
“A major policy change of this magnitude that affects all classes of the Nigerian society needs not to be in a rush for implementation.
“We wonder why the interest of the Nigerian citizen was not taken into consideration through consultations and advocacy in the planning of the so called laudable programme.’’
The Secretary-General of the Motor Dealers Association of Abuja, Mr Ajibola Adedoyin said the new number plates should be used in newly purchased cars.
“Old number plates should be in use and replacement should be voluntary. Cars to be registered should be made to collect the new number plates.’’
The vice chairman of the committee, Senator Babajide Omowurare (ACN- Osun) said it would create stronger collaboration among agencies involved in vehicle registration.
“We hope with this public hearing, a number of burning issues will come out that will enable us amend some of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the committee has ordered the arrest of Mr Chris Ahanonu, representative of the Centre for Moral Clarity and Change, for disparaging the National Assembly.
Ahanonu, in his presentation, said members of the National Assembly were not in touch with the people they represented. “The National Assembly, as presently constituted, is far away from the people.’’
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Dahiru Kuta (PDP-Niger) said the National Assembly would not allow its cherished reputation to be rubbished by selfish individuals.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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