Abuja roads belong to FG, FRSC operations legal- Appeal Court rules.

Spread the love


The Court of Appeal in Abuja has held that all roads in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) belonged to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The appellate court also ruled that the Federal Road Safety Commission could go about its constitutional duties on all roads inside Abuja.

The judgment was delivered in an appeal instituted by an Abuja based lawyer, Igwe Ugochukwu against the FRSC, Dr. Lawal Akeem and Dr. Isaac Nwokeukwu.

Ugochukwu had sued FRSC at the Federal High Court in Abuja on March 9, 2021, following the seizure of his car for violating traffic rules.

According to his process, he was ordered to park by the roadside which he did, adding that the officers of the FRSC who accosted him requested his car particulars.

Suspecting that the officers were trying to extort him, he insisted that he should be taken to a traffic tribunal or any other mobile court of competent jurisdiction to determine his criminal liability which the Officers agreed.

He claimed that the officers started driving him in a merry-go-round manner between Central Area and Wuse 2 through Maitama General Hospital and while pretending to be taking him to court reversed at Ahmadu Bello Way before Bannex Plaza and started coming back and drove him back to Central Area again through the Ahmadu Bello Way.

Ugochukwu went ahead and paid N2, 000,00 fine and took the receipt to Zone 7 Office of the FRSC for clearance as directed by the officers.

But FRSC’s counsel, Precious Fred Nwora, maintained that since the appellant paid a fine, he corroborated FRSC’s case against him that he violated traffic rules.

The trial judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere, however, dismissed the suit on the ground that he had admitted guilty by paying the prescribed fine imposed on him.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellant’s lawyer, Austine Ogezi, urged the appellate court to set aside the lower court’s decision.

He also challenged the authority of the FRSC to operate on the Shehu Shagari way inside the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where he was accused of violating traffic rules.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Okon Abang said the appellant waved his constitutional right to a fair hearing by paying the fine imposed on him by FRSC officials.

He said, “Appellant having paid the fine for the offence stated on the offence sheet admitted to committing the offence. Where there is admittance there is no burden of proof needed.

“He waved his constitutional right to a fair hearing by paying the fine. It is immaterial the fine was paid in protest.
Having elected to pay the fine, the appellant opted not to be tried.”

Justice Abang also held that roads in Abuja belong to FG and FRSC can operate on these roads.

He said, ” Mere assertion that Shehu Shagari way in an internal way in the FCT is an internal road is not sufficient and immaterial. The fact that the first respondent did not contravene the assertion is also not sufficient. The burden is on the appellant to prove that Shehu Shagari way does not belong to the FG. The appellant failed to provide any legal instrument issued by an agency of government.

“Section 10, 3,4, and 5 of Federal Road Safety Commission Establishment Act confers power on FRSC criminal proceedings, against any person and to arrest and prosecute anyone suspected to have committed traffic offence.

“The combined provisions of Section 299 of the constitution as amended and Section 13(1) of the Federal Capital Territory apply to the FRSC to operate on all roads in the FCT.
Roads in FCT including Shehu Shagari Way belong to the federal government.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *