By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Nearly two years after its ill-fated attempt to reintroduce its controversial On-street Parking Scheme popularly called ‘Park and Pay’ policy, the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has concluded arrangements to revive the policy in the first quarter of 2023.
The policy was suspended about eight years ago, precisely in April 2014 after resistance by some residents who decried the high handedness of operators and also queried the ownership of companies being used for ticketing and enforcement.
Some residents consequently approached an FCT High Court which stopped the FCT Administration from further collecting fees from residents for on and off the street parking within the metropolis.
According to the administration, the development is part of renewed measures to reduce traffic congestion in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Vanguard recalls that there were failed attempts to revive the policy in May 2021.
However, Director, Traffic Management in the FCTA, Wadata Bodinga, who announced the reintroduction on Monday, added that all legal impediments to the policy have now been resolved.
He noted that the new FCT Parking Regulations 2019 has sufficiently made provisions for the scheme.
The Administration is relying on the FCT Parking Regulations 2019 which was gazetted on 14th May, 2019.
It said the regulations were made pursuant to Section 11 (1) and 46 of the Road Traffic Act Cap. 548 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, 2006 and Section 4 of the Federal Capital Territory Act. Cap F6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Following a suit filed by a private firm, Sun Trust Savings and Loans Limited, then Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court in Apo, Abuja, had on April 17, 2014 declared the policy as illegal, saying there was no legal backing.
However, on May 23, 2019, just few days to the end of the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate passed a bill seeking the establishment of road traffic and motor vehicle administration agency in the nation’s capital.
The bill which was already passed by the House of Representatives empowered the FCT Administration to embark on the overall enforcement of parking rules.
While President Buhari was not known to have signed the bill into law, Bodinga on Monday explained that following the rapid population growth in Abuja, and its attendant traffic congestion, resusticating the policy was necessary.
According to him, “with the present state of the FCT Traffic irregularities which poses great hazards for road users, the reintroduction of the On-street parking scheme by the administration will mitigate these challenges to the barest.
“While On-street parking scheme may seem overbearing for some users, the scheme impacts positively on FCT residents and economic activities through improving customer experience and promoting efficient park management system “, he added.