Court upholds power of FRSC to fine motorists

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has upheld the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to fine motorists for alleged traffic offences without first prosecuting them in a court of law.

The trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo reached the decision in his judgment on Friday while dismissing a suit by a motorist, Dr M.Y Suleiman, seeking N10 million as damages from the FRSC for the detention of his car.

The detention followed Suleiman’s alleged violation of a traffic offence and his subsequent payment of a fine without first being prosecuted.

The court held that contrary to the plaintiff’s claim, the practice whereby road marshals issue tickets to motorists on allegation of the commission of offences under the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 and demand ‘offenders’ to pay a fine, did not offend section 6(6) of the Constitution, Rules 166 and 220 of the National Road Traffic Regulations.

He noted that the matter had already been settled by Tijani Abubakar JCA (as he then was) at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division in the 2019 case of Olookan v FRSC.

Suleiman had following the detention of his car, for, among others, his making a call in his car while driving, sought nine reliefs, among them, a declaration that fair hearing was not offered him by the FRSC in issuing a ticket to him to pay a fine, since the defendants were the complainants, prosecutors and the judge in their cause and consequently the fine he paid was unlawful.

But dismissing his claims for want of merit, the judge held that Suleiman did not deny making a call in his car but that his phone was connected to his car.

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