Justice Clement Kereke of Kogi High Court, Lokoja, on Friday fixed Jan. 27 to deliver judgment in a suit challenging the powers of the Kogi Traffic Management Authority (KOTRAMA).
Kereke fixed the date after taking the addresses of both the plaintiff and the defendants in the case filed before him on July 11, 2022.
The plaintiff, an Abuja-based Lawyer, Mr Martin Atojoko, had sued the state agency and joined the state House of Assembly, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the state government as second, third and fourth defendants in the matter.
Atojoko prayed the court to compel the defendants to pay him N10 million as general and exemplary damages for inter-alia the first defendant’s unlawful and illegal action of detaining and impounding his car.
The plaintiff had told the court in his originating Summon that on June 22, 2022, he was stopped by officers of KOTRAMA over an expired drives licence and his Toyota Corolla car was impounded.
“My lord, I only got my car back the next day, after paying a fine of N10,000, an action which is but a contravention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Law of 2007, ” he alleged.
Atojoko prayed the court to issue an order declaring that the second defendant cannot make laws empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corp (Establishment) Act, 2007 in inspecting the driver’s license of motorists, issued by the FRSC and codifying same in Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018.”
“A declaration that all the provisions of the Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018, empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the FRSC in the inspection of the driver’s license of motorists is invalid, illegal, unlawful, null and void ab initio.
“An order that the KOTRAMA cannot fine the plaintiff and impound his vehicle with registration No. 2T1BU4EE9AC312480, without first trying him and finding him guilty before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“An order that the act of the first defendant in impounding the vehicle and fining him without powers to do so is invalid, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, ab initio,” he pleaded.
Responding, in his final written address, Mr B.O. Obenege, counsel to all the defendants, debunked the claims of the plaintiff and said that the agency acted within the ambit of the law that established it.
“My lord, the House of Assembly Law that established KOTRAMA is not a duplication of FRSC Law of 2007.
“The first defendant’s main function is control and management of traffic and verify vehicles that move or carry goods within Kogi.
“In other words, they are stationed and carry out their duties on Kogi government roads, and not that of the Federal Government.
“Even if the KOTRAMA Law of 2018 is in conflict with that of FRSC, the corps could have instituted an action to challenge the authority of KOTRAMA.
“We urge your lordship to so hold that the action of KOTRAMA has not contravened the Kogi Law or any other law, and the claimant was given a summary fine of N10,000, all in accordance with the Section 1(3) of the Law.
“In conclusion, we urge your lordship to dismiss the case for lack of merit,” Obenege pleaded.