The Senate has invited the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru; and the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Osita Chidoka, to a public hearing on how to resolve the controversy surrounding the new driver’s licence and personalised number plates scheme.
Other stakeholders invited to the public hearing are the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Luxurious Bus Owners Associa-tion of Nigeria (LUBAN), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Amalga-mated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Directors of Vehicle Inspection Offices (VIO) in the 36 States and the FCT, security agencies, and civil society groups. The public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs is scheduled to hold tomorrow.
Announcing this in Abuja, at the weekend, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, dismissed insinuations that the proposed public hearing is a witch-hunt.
Kuta said: “The public hearing on the new scheme is to get first-hand information from the public and stakeholders in the sector after which the National Assembly will now chart a way forward. Whoever is talking about a witch-hunt on this matter is, to me, simply uninformed.”
Kuta further explained that the extant FRSC “empowers the FRSC to primarily, prevent and minimise accidents on the highways and clear obstructions on any part of the highways and educate drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of highways.”
He said: “The Commission was not established principally as a revenue-generating agency for the states and Federal Government. In recent times, the FRSC embarked on frequent and arbitrary introduction and re-introduction of vehicles number plates and drivers’ licences and the Commission will ultimately be generating a whooping N2 billion annually as its own share of the new scheme.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives had earlier directed the FRSC to stop the scheme until a resolution is reached on the matter.
Last month, the Senate directed the Kuta-led committee to interface with the public on the new vehicle number plate and drivers’ licence scheme over complaints that the FRSC stepped outside its mandate of protecting lives on Nigerian roads and is being motivated primarily by profit.