The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reintroduced the new vehicle number plates after a mandate to suspend it but the enforcement agency has been accused by Nigerians of extorting erring motorists without adequate information.
The majority of motorists in some major cities particularly in Abuja have been accosted by FRSC officials while being slammed with fines over vehicle number plate violation.
The motorists claim to be uninformed about the issuance of a new order superceding the earlier one in 2011 which suspended the implementation and enforcement of the new vehicle number plates.
A senior official in Akwa Ibom Liaison Office, Abuja, Uduakabasi Udo, said she was accosted by FRSC officials on September 14 and asked to pay N3,000 fine for not using the new plate number.
Udo said, “When FRSC officials stopped me around the Corps’ former headquarters in Zone 7, Abuja and requested for my vehicle papers, I was shocked when, after seeing my documents were complete, they still booked me for using an old vehicle number plate.
“When I insisted on seeing the document that authorised the Corps to restart the enforcement of the earlier suspended directive, I was the more surprised when the official took me to his office to show me a memo on the subject issued the previous day from the Corps headquarters.”
She was eventually issued papers for the fine of N3,000 with instructions to visit any FRSC office to get a new number plate which will attract additional cost between N12,500 and N15,000.
However, the spokesperson of the FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, told the media enforcing the new number plate directive by the organization was official but he refused to address why the latest order was not publicised.
“We gave room for people to purchase new number plates when renewing their vehicle licence, but people ignored and continued to use the old plates,” he said.