The Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, maybe jailed if found guilty of contempt of court following the initiation of contempt proceedings against him by a lawyer, Tope Alabi, for allegedly disobeying a court order stopping the corps from imposing fines on motorists in the country.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court presided over by Justice John Tsoho in Lagos had on September 26, 2014, nullified FRSC’s powers to fine motorists for violating traffic rules.
According to Alabi, FRSC was not empowered to impose fines under sections 10 (4) and 28 (2) of the FRSC (Establishment) Act 2007 because it is not a court.
Alabi in the committal proceedings initiated against Oyeyemi is contending that FRSC officials have not complied with the judgment which he noted was yet to be set aside by the Court of Appeal.
According to him, FRSC did not apply for nor obtain any stay of execution of the judgment.
In the form 48 and 49, Notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court, dated August 20, the Corps Marshal Oyeyemi is warned of being held liable for contempt if his men continue to violate the order by arresting and imposing fines on erring motorists without taking them to court.
“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison” he said in his notice published in Vanguard newspaper.
According to the court, FRSC can arrest motorists for traffic offences, but it must take them to mobile or other courts which have the powers to punish traffic offenders.
The lawyer further prayed the court should declare that only a court of competent jurisdiction can pronounce a person guilty under Section 10 (4) and 28 (2) of the FRSC (Establishment Act) 2007 and Regulation 143 of the Nigerian Roads Traffic Regulation, 2011.
Recently, the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have been accused of hijacking the constitutional responsibilities of the police.