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Monday, September 21, 2015

LASTMA renews enforcement of road traffic law


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THERE was a growing concern recently among Lagos residents over perceived ineffectiveness of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, in enforcing various sections of the 2012 Road Traffic Law.

The concern became worrisome following Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s directive to the agency to adopt new strategy in booking traffic offenders rather than the old method of seizing their vehicles.
To ensure the safety of lives and free flow of traffic on Lagos roads, LASTMA renewed the enforcement of the road traffic law across the state using an holistic method of booking offenders on spot and allowing the driver continue with his journey without impounding vehicles.
The exercise which kicked off at Ojota area, witnessed the booking of four drivers violating the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, Law.
The Vehicles included two commercial buses with plate registration numbers AGL 109 XA, JJJ 7775 XJ, also booked was a black Honda FST 914AX belonging to Nike Elegbede and a blue Toyota Camry car with registration number EJ 54 KIJ driven by one Adamu Danladi.

The drivers were booked accordingly, while the two private owners were able to provide valid vehicle documents on the spot, the two commercial bus drivers could not but were all allowed to go with the their vehicles in line with the new policy of the Lagos State government.
Monitoring of enforcement
The General Manager of the agency, Bashir Braimah, who led the officials to monitor enforcement explained that the exercise was the first after the governor’s directive
He re affirmed that the enforcement was a signal to recalcitrant drivers and those who engage in transportation business in the state that it’s no longer business as usual as the Road Traffic Law is still valid and must be obeyed at all times. He stated further that only the method of implementation has changed.
On the workability of the new approach, the LASTMA boss explained that; “There would be no hidden place for traffic violators as the offenders are expected to make payment of their various fines within the docket of seven days and present their tickets at LASTMA offices and failure to comply, offenders will be arrested at home after the expiration of the grace.
“To those without valid documents or not registered in the state, there is a working synergy between the agency and other sister agencies across the federation, therefore no traffic offender will go unpunished. It’s in their own interest to either fall in or fall out with this new method” Braimah charged.
Last week, as part of efforts to ensure seamless traffic and residents have smooth ride travelling within the state metropolis, LASTMA boss met with various leaders of transport unions where he unveiled its plan to meet and engage all stakeholders in the management and control of traffic in order to ameliorate daily hardship experience on the road and also deploy more officers to traffic prone areas in the state with the determination of increasing general road safety.
Regard for road traffic law
Braimah lamented the nonchalant attitude of truck and commercial drivers plying Apapa Oshodi Expressway who are indifferent to the plight of other road users with little or no regard for the road traffic law.
At The MRS Truck Staging Area along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, trucks park indiscriminately on the dual carriage with the excuse of awaiting fuel loading teller leading to the total blockage of other road users’ access to the road. The LASTMA chief condemned the act of impunity and charged the Petroleum Union Drivers (PTD) to key into the vision of the government and reciprocate the kind gesture of the government on enforcement policy by obeying road traffic laws willingly.
He observed further that, the state usually witness gridlocks due to the excesses of motorists particularly commercial and truck drivers who are fond of flouting traffic rules and regulations, driving in direction prohibited by law, turning all the nooks and crannies of the state into parks rather than using the dedicated bus tops or parks and therefore narrowing the roads.
According to him the agency had been magnanimous enough to have called the unions to a meeting towards the restoration of sanity to no avail and as a responsible government, the agency can’t fold its hands and allow the impunity to continue on Lagos roads hence the reason for enforcement.
In his reaction, Joseph Okpara, an executive of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) expressed displeasure on the conduct of his members saying his union is ready to partner with LASTMA in finding a lasting solution to the perennial traffic situation associated on the axis.
One of the offenders revealed that the enforcement came as a shock to him as he thought LASTMA had been restricted to the control and management of traffic on Lagos roads while Adamu admitted to the offence.
The enforcement was applauded by some motorists who lamented the increase in traffic violations by drivers.
Clampsdown on Okada riders, street traders: Also, Lagos State Task Force has warned commercial motorcycle operators popularly called, “okada riders” operating on all restricted routes and street traders to comply with the State Road Traffic Law 2012 or risk arrest and prosecution.
The Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, a Superintendent of Police, Olubukola Abe, who gave the warning, disclosed that since he assumed office in August, 2015, till date, over 1000 motorcycles have been impounded and their riders prosecuted, including street traders/hawkers with their wares confiscated by the courts of law.
Enforcement officers
He stated that the taskforce was ready to strictly, implement the Section 3 of the traffic law and others to the latter. He said out of 9100 roads in the state motorcycle operators were restricted to only 475 roads including highways and bridges according to the law.
Abe said that enforcement by law enforcement officers would be intensified, assuring that they would not relent in their efforts to restore sanity on roads while curbing the excesses of okada riders and street traders.
He however, appealed to his officers and other law enforcement agents to carry out their duties diligently while enforcing the Law.
[Monsuru Olowoopejo,Vanguard]

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