RIFA has reacted to the seven-day ultimatum given to unregistered vehicles’ owners by Lagos Police and over unlawful covering of vehicle number plates by Oyo Police
On Tuesday December 31st, 2019 the Oyo State Police Command in a release made available to press men by the Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO); Fadeyi Olugbenga disclosed that The Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Police Command, Shina T. Olukolu has frowned over unlawful covering of vehicle number plates by some individuals or personalities in Oyo State in flagrance disregard/ disobedience to the laws of the land in spite of several warnings in the past.
Similarly, the Lagos State Police Command has issued a seven-day ultimatum to owners and operators of unregistered vehicles in the state to register such vehicles to avoid being prosecuted by law enforcement agents.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said in a statement on Sunday; January 5, 2020 that ‘criminal elements had devised a means of operating with unregistered vehicles‘ to attack unsuspecting members of the public without any trace.
According to the PPRO;
The ultimatum starts on Monday; January 6, 2020 and elapses by 11.59pm on Sunday, January 12, 2020, while the clampdown will begin on Monday, January 13, 2020.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 4 (1) of the Road Traffic Act, Cap 548, prohibited the use of unregistered, unlicensed and unmarked vehicles.
Any person, who forges or fraudulently defaces, alters, mutilates or adds anything to a licence or identification mark, or uses on their vehicle a licence or identification mark belonging to another vehicle is guilty of an offence under Section 32 of the Act….” Mr Bala concluded.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) eulogize the Police authority in both Oyo and Lagos States for their decisions to be custodian of laws of Nigeria. And would appreciate if other States follow suit as soon as possible.
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Many people have been attacked/robbed by fake vehicle owners while many vehicles have been lost because of improper identification.
However, in a saner society, the one to enforce laws should not be the law breakers.
The Police authority including Oyo State Command could not claim to be oblivious of the fact that there are many police vans in Nigeria without number plates or with mutilated number plates when the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 of Nigeria did not make exemptions for any vehicle not to be registered.
Even most private vehicles and motorcycles being used by some police officers for extortion or oppression in towns and on the roads have no registered number.
In fact, when last have police officers renewed their vehicles’ particulars, if any?
That act alone gives them freedom to commit crime anyhow and go scot-free while those who sought to obtain evidence of such police officers’ misdemeanour were either maimed or murdered.
Similarly, most police officers have no name or number tag on their uniform in flagrance disregard for Police Act and Regulations 2004, yet the Police authority has not deemed it fit to clamp down on its officers that contravene the laws without their identity conspicuously shown and vehicles clearly marked.
Is it not a crime for such police officers to go out without being identified properly as uniform men?
Should police go on the road or move out in uniform in towns without being properly identified with name or number?
Why has police authority failed to clamp down on their officers driving unmarked/unregistered vehicles/motorcycles before going against the public?
At least, there is a wise saying that morality begins from home.
Apart from the fact that the police authority only wants to open another door of extortion for its officers, who is that stranger that will not admit that for months if not years to get vehicle registered is herculean task in Nigeria?
Temporary driver license takes months if not years before the original driver licenses are available.
Even in states where lawlessness have been the order of the day, commercial number plates have been illegally contracted to individuals who would not make the numbers ready as soon as possible.
Then, why a week-ultimatum in a country where bureaucracy and corruption have bastardized everything and most civil servants have compromised ethics?
Police authority in Nigeria especially in Oyo and Lagos states should first sanitize their homes before extending it to the public by doing the needful of proper identification of officers and vehicles.
However, members of the public are enjoined to promptly register their vehicles to save them from unnecessary expenses that may be orchestrated by stealing and embarrassment on the road.
Anyone using special number or name should have it registered or remove it immediately.
Police authority should ensure its officers are properly identified with their name or number any time they are in uniform while all their vehicles too should be properly registered or marked with conspicuous numbers.
Any police officer that flouts the laws of the land too should be disciplined appropriately by the Command concerned.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)
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