Abuja Minister suspends controversial park and pay scheme

by Premium Times

The Federal Capital Territory Administration has announced the suspension of its on-street park and pay scheme in Abuja with immediate effect.

A statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, said the suspension was in deference to the judgment of an FCT High Court last Thursday (the last work day before the Easter break) declaring the system illegal.
According to the statement, the Secretary of Transportation of the FCT Administration, Jonathan Achara Ivoke, has already dispatched a letter to the operators of the scheme informing them of the suspension.
The on-street park and pay scheme was conceived and launched by the FCT Administration for the purpose of effective traffic management and control in the Nation’s Capital City especially against the backdrop of its fast growth in vehicular population.
The introduction of the scheme is in sync with the standard practice in many mega cities around the world.
Mr. Ogbuenyi added, “However, while the scheme has been widely hailed for helping to bring about orderliness, sanity, beauty and reduction in auto crashes on FCT roads and streets, some persons and groups opposed to the new order have launched ferocious attacks against it especially through the institution of several legal actions challenging its legal status.
“The judgment delivered last Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Justice Peter Affen of FCT High Court declaring the scheme illegal was thus the culmination of the attacks launched against the new system by the forces
resisting the new order.
“It is however noteworthy that the court in delivering the judgment rated the scheme as an excellent policy but only faulted it on the ground that there was no valid legislation backing it.”
“As a law abiding organization that strongly believes in the rule of law, the FCT Administration has decided to comply with the judgment of the court. By this decision, all the operators licensed by the FCT Administration have been directed to immediately suspend the operation of the scheme to give full effect to the judgment.
“Meanwhile, the FCT Administration has set in motion the process for a review of the FCT Road Transport Regulation, 2005 to address the legal lacuna and to properly capture the on-street park and pay scheme in it including the incorporation of the extensive review already started by the Administration. The review is expected to address perceived loopholes in the scheme.”
A Federal Capital Territory High Court had on Thursday, in a suit brought by an Abuja-based private savings and loan firm, declared the park and pay policy illegal.
Justice Peter Affen also ordered the immediate stoppage of the scheme.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the Abuja administration hired four companies to collect parking fees from motorists around the city centre.
Motorists in Abuja had complained of extortion and fraud by officials of these companies who clamp vehicle tyres, several times on dubious reasons, forcing motorists to pay thousands of naira to them.

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