The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will continue to apprehend motorists with faded vehicle number plates because they are a security risk to the public.
The Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Kazeem said criminals take advantage of faded number plates to perpetrate heinous crimes in the country, as impounding such vehicles would enhance security of lives and property.
“What we are saying is that driving a vehicle with faded number plates on our roads is like living with neighbours who do not have identity; that is a huge security risk for other road users.
“This is because miscreants, kidnappers, terrorists as well as other enemies of the state can leverage on that gap to commit heinous crimes because their identity is masked,” he added.
Kazeem said that the corps would continue to educate vehicle owners on the imperative of having very clear number plates.
“I think the emphasis here should be channeled to educating people on the need to know the basis so that owners of faded number plates can replace them rather than devoting energy on whether or not arrest is imminent,” he said.
Kazeem said that the mandate of the FRSC included making highways safe, designing and producing vehicle number plates and keeping custody of every information about vehicles in Nigeria.
The Corps Public Education Officer said vehicle owners rather than the FRSC, should bear the cost of getting their faded number plates reissued.
According to him, number plates fade because of using concentrated detergents in washing vehicles.
“In this case and other cases of theft, loss and mutilation from crashes, replacement is at the cost of the vehicle owners.
“Such vehicle owners must first apply and will be contacted on the required fee for the replacement through the motor vehicle administration.
“Where materials are available for the production of number plates, it doesn’t take up to two days for the issuance of number plate for a new vehicle.
“And also less than one week for re-issuance in case of theft, loss, mutilation and where they become faded,” he said.
The spokesman emphasised that it was not the desire of the FRSC to arrest motorists and impound their vehicles, but to educate them to do the right thing.
He added that ensuring safety on roads was a collective responsibility.
“When it comes to enforcement, there is always collaboration and synergy amongst security agencies.
“As for enlightenment, we have commenced that even before the enforcement began.
“This is so because the Corps has a tradition of embarking on robust enlightenment and sensitisation campaigns on policies before proper enforcement,’’ he said.
Kazeem denied that the number plates issued by the FRSC were substandard.
“If the vehicle and all its parts including the paint on it are subject to fading away, wear and tear, then the number plate should not be an exception.
“We are known for quality, both in our services and products, so saying the quality of materials we use are substandard, does not reflect the truth.
“We are aware of this but not deterred from doing what is right and we shall continue to stand on the side of the truth and deliver on our mandate.”