In a chorus of discontent, motorists across Nigeria have expressed their dissatisfaction with the recently imposed N25,000 penalties for faded vehicle number plates and the steep costs of renewing vehicle particulars. Many view these measures as nothing but an additional burden on already struggling citizens, raising concerns about the increasing cost of living in the country.
The Conversations on Hardship
Voices of frustration were raised as motorists shared their grievances with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in Abuja. For them, these measures appeared to be a subtle attempt to intensify the hardships faced by Nigerians. The rising cost of living coupled with seemingly disproportionate penalties added to the weight on motorists and the wider populace.
A Reflection on National Security
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Spokesman, Mr. Bisi Kazeem, asserted that the use of faded number plates carried implications for national security. The FRSC, charged with maintaining safe highways, producing vehicle number plates, and managing vehicle information, stressed the importance of maintaining legible number plates. Kazeem explained that the fading often resulted from the use of concentrated detergents during vehicle cleaning, leaving vehicle owners to bear the cost of replacements.
Imposing Fines: A Means or an Overreach?
While the aim of ensuring readable number plates is acknowledged, concerns have emerged about the enforcement tactics employed by the FRSC. Mr. Peter Oguche, a banker with Polaris Bank, noted that the issue of faded number plates had become a source of revenue for FRSC personnel, who allegedly harassed non-government vehicles, including parents on school runs and travelers on highways. He criticized the seemingly unchecked power wielded by FRSC officials, urging a more balanced approach.
A Call for Responsibility and Sensitivity
As discussions unfolded, the blame game surfaced. Motorists like Mr. Ojo emphasized that the agency responsible for issuing low-quality number plates should bear the responsibility for replacements. FRSC, however, placed the blame on the weather and car wash attendants. Critics questioned the need for citizens to endure lengthy and costly processes to obtain replacement plates and suggested that a more efficient system could focus on automatic replacements for faulty plates instead of hefty fines.
Focus on Core Mandate
Critics highlighted a perceived shift in focus for the FRSC, questioning whether it was straying from its core mandate of ensuring road safety to becoming a revenue-generation body. They argued that the agency’s role should prioritize safety over punitive measures. Mr. Hassan Saliu, a car dealer, articulated the collective sentiment by urging the government to reflect on the overall state of the country, including the roads themselves, before imposing more financial burdens on citizens.
Concerns About Overreach
Legal experts like Mr. Abraham Onu questioned the legitimacy of the FRSC’s enforcement actions, particularly on state roads. Onu emphasized that the agency was established to ensure safety and not primarily as a revenue generator. He criticized the move to impound vehicles or impose fines based on faded number plates, particularly when it strained citizens already grappling with numerous hardships.
In the midst of these concerns, the conversation continues, with motorists, experts, and citizens calling for a balance between road safety and citizens’ financial well-being.