Private car owners do not need a roadworthiness certificate issued by the Vehicle Inspection Office, according to an Asaba Appeal Court (VIO).
The Court of Appeal in Asaba recently upheld the decision of the High Court in Ughelli, ruling that the Delta State government lacks the authority to sanction and claim the payment of a levy and the issuance of a roadworthiness certificate for private vehicles.
The judgement in the appeal CA/B/333/2017 was delivered on March 12th, 2021. He argued that the appeal lacked substance and that the trial court’s decision should be upheld.
“Before drawing the curtain on this judgement, I need to remind public bodies and public officers that a public body or public officer vested with legislative power must take care not to surpass or misuse its or his power,” the Court noted in the Certified True Copy of the judgement sighted by Ejes Gist Naija. It or he must stay within the bounds of the authority bestowed upon them. To avoid arbitrariness and the rule of man rather than the rule of law, this is done.
The Vehicle Inspection Officers went beyond what the law and the RTR allowed them to do. As a result, they use force to block the Respondent’s private vehicle on a public highway. They demanded a certificate of roadworthiness, which the vehicle in question did not have, using threatening methods and hazardous instruments. Such behaviour sends the wrong message to people who can resort to such coercion to resolve disputes.”
A private motor vehicle, according to the court, is one that belongs to a specific individual. It went on to say that the collection of cars is for a specific individual or group to transport their personal belongings. It is not, however, for public use, hire, or award. Meanwhile, impounding a private motor vehicle for not possessing or holding a hackney licence or a stage carriage licence would be illegal because they are two of the particulars for which any vehicle may be impounded.
As a result, the Appeal Court awarded the Appellants N200,000 in costs.
Kunle Edun, the Welfare Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association and a human rights lawyer, sued the Governor of Delta State, the state’s Attorney, and the Senior Vehicle Inspector Officer, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta, in 2014 for requiring him to produce a valid Road Worthiness Certificate for his private vehicle, despite the fact that there is no provision of law in the state requiring him to do so.
The said permit, according to Kunle Edun’s Summons, is for commercial transporters or haulage.
After reviewing their pleadings, the trial court concluded that the state’s Road Traffic Law does not grant them the right to demand. Furthermore, they are unable to recover any tax or levy in relation to private cars. Meanwhile, they have the authority to grant certificates of roadworthiness to private car owners.
The money received by the Defendants for the issuance of the certificate was also illegal, according to the court. Meanwhile, it is a breach of Delta State’s Road Traffic Law (CAP R9), which was enacted in 2008.
As a result, the trial court awarded Kunle Edun the amount of N100,000 in costs against the Defendants.
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