The recent trending video on social media is the display of a vehicle with an “automatic plate number” where the car uses two number plates attached to it and you can switch from one plate number to another electronically by just pushing a button installed inside the car.
It looked cool and smooth and people went crazy over this display. So many people were making inquiries on how to get it as they would love their cars to use this “automatic switching” two number plates.
The interesting thing is that there are laws prohibiting a vehicle owner from using two different plate numbers on a vehicle in Nigeria. A vehicle is only to be assigned with just one number plate and any act of acquiring or fixing a second plate number to your vehicle is a criminal offense.
It is the law that before you use a vehicle in Nigeria, you must register the vehicle first with the FRSC and obtain every necessary documentation, and be issued a number plate which will be affixed to the vehicle.
Section 10(3) of the FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION (ESTABLISHMENT) ACT, 2007, states that the Federal Road Safety Commission has been charged with the duty (amongst others) of registering cars, designing and issuing number plates, and each vehicle is entitled to just one number plate; anything other than these; like obtaining a plate number from any other person other than the FRSC or using more than one number plate on a vehicle is a criminal offense.
Subsequently, the succeeding subsection 4 of section 10 provides that the FRSC has been empowered to arrest and prosecute anybody who fails to use or display a number plate on his or her vehicle.
S.(10)(4)(s) provides thus; In the exercise of the functions conferred by this section, members of the Corps shall have the power to arrest and prosecute persons responsible or suspected of having committed any traffic offense including the following offenses and serve such person with court processes or notice of offense sheet-
(s) failure to display number plates on vehicles;
It is worthy of note that you are only permitted to drive a new car in Nigeria for just three months without registration or attaching a plate number but after three months and you still drive the car around without registering the car it then becomes a criminal offense and you can be arrested and prosecuted for that.
Nigerians always feel that laws are made against them or to oppress them instead of them having the positive mindset that laws are made for their protection. Ironically, the laws bothering on the registration of vehicles and attaching number plates before use is one of the laws that is made for the protection and security of the vehicle users or owners because if by any means the car gets stolen or snatched it will be easier to be traced and recovered when the car has been registered and the details of the vehicle are in the database of the FRSC.
The registration of vehicles also helps the security agencies keep track of the vehicles in the city and helps in the identification of the owners and users of the vehicle. There’s a reasonable presumption (which could be wrong) that those that refuse to register their vehicle with the appropriate authorities and attach an identifiable number plate are those that use their vehicle for criminal activities like kidnapping or robbery.