Ini Billie, Uyo
The court has upheld the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), to impound vehicles, and imposed a fine on the defaulting motorist.
Michael Benson Esq., a lawyer in Akwa Ibom State was arrested by officers and men of the FRSC on patrol in 2017 for violating driver’s licence, vehicle licence and tyre rules.
His Toyota saloon car with Registration number, KTS 572 was impounded and a fine was imposed on him by the officers.
Benson, however, dragged the FRSC to the Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo, and in Suit No: HU/FHR. 21/2017, challenged the powers and right of the agency to impound his vehicle and called for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
He also demanded the sum of N10 million as damages.
But the trial Judge, Justice Aniekan Akpan, dismissed the application for lacking in merit, saying the FRSC has the powers according to the constitution to impound vehicles and fine any erring motorist.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Benson proceeded to the Court of Appeal in Calabar, for the judgement of the lower court to be upturned.
In their judgment however, the three-man panel, Hon. Justice R. C. Agbo, Hon. Justice M. B. Barka, and Hon. Justice B. B. Aliyu, on Monday, upheld the ruling of the Akwa Ibom State High Court in Suit Nos: CA/C/305/2017 between Michael Benson Esq vs FRSC.
Reading the judgement on behalf of the panel, Justice Aliyu said, “FRSC has the powers to arrest, and prosecute within the ambit of Law denoted to the commission. We affirm the decision of the trial court and posit that the Appeal was grossly incompetent”. The court also dismissed Benson’s prayer that N10 million be awarded to him as damages but awarded the cost of N50,000 against him in favour of FRSC.