Court nullifies Abuja ‘Park and Pay’ scheme

Posted by News Express | 18 April 2014 | 3,354 times

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A High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja yesterday declared the park and pay scheme in the Nigerian capital city illegal, ultra vires, null and void.

Ruling on a suit by an Abuja-based company, Suntrust Savings and Loans Limited, Justice Peter Affen declared the park and pay policy of the FCT Administration as being unknown to law.

Suntrust had sued FCT Minister Bala Mohammed and two others, challenging the legality of collecting fees from motorists through the park and pay policy.

The plaintiff had asked the court to determine whether the park and pay policy of the FCT was in pursuant of any act of the National Assembly, as provided by the 1999 Constitution and whether the defendants could exercise the powers to collect taxes, rates and fees without the act of the National Assembly.

It also asked the court to determine whether the legislative powers to make laws was vested exclusively in the National Assembly, having regard to Section 299 (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, among other demands.

In his judgement, which lasted about three hours, Justice Affen held that though the FCT Administration could make laws to collect taxes, fees and rates in the FCT, the 2005 FCT By-Law had not contemplated the park and pay scheme, but rather made provision for park and ride, which, he said, was not being implemented.

The learned judge held that the FCT Road Transport Regulation made elaborate provisions, “but I was not fortunate enough to find the park and pay scheme in the 2005 FCT by-law. What it provided for, under sections 118 and 119, is the park and ride scheme.”

He added: “For reasons of clarity, I will state out those provisions in extensor. Section 118 states that the transport secretary may from time to time designate any operational area or zone as a park and ride area or route for the purposes of traffic management between 6am and 6pm.”

Justice Affen restrained the FCT Administration from collecting any taxes, rates and fees from motorists, except such was provided for by a valid subsidiary legislation.

“The defendants by themselves, privies, agents, servants or whatsoever name called, are hereby restrained from operating pay and park scheme, save and except the same is provided for or authorised by a valid by-law,” he ruled.

•Photo shows FCT Minister Bala Mohammed.


Source: News Express

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