Lagos Traffic Law Is About Safety, Not Politics Says Fashola

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) who met with leaders of commercial motorcycle riders associations and Community Development Committees (CDC)  in the State over the implementation of the State Traffic Law as it affect operators of motorbikes, has maintained that the law is a good policy which the State will not reverse.

Governor Fashola who spoke on Tuesday in the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja at a meeting attended by the Police High Command in the State said the issue of the implementation of the State Traffic law is not a political issue but that of safety.

He added that like every good policy, it can indeed be improved upon, but motorcycle operators must obey the law and reduce the excesses associated with some of them.

Fashola however, charged the senior law enforcement officers to ensure that their men who engage in illegalities are clamped down. He reiterated that even in the approved routes, the motorcycle operators cannot carry more than one passenger and cannot drive against traffic or ride the motor bikes without wearing a crash helmet because it is all about being alive.

According to Governor Fashola, the people can also monitor and participate in the enforcement process by ensuring that in the various Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas where there are problems, the people can work together with the Divisional Police Officers (DPO) and Area Commanders through the Police Community Relations Committees (PCRC) to address such issues.

He expressed the hope that the operators of commercial motorcycles would organize themselves better and utilize the open door policy of the present administration to reach it, adding: “Let us know what the problems are and if people are impersonating you, use the open door policy to reach us. Let us know if they are people impersonating, you let us work together to get them out of the business. So that we know who we are dealing with”.

Governor Fashola stated that the State Government appreciates the support of the commercial motorcycle operators for the ruling party in the State and values it but that the level of responsibility expected of them is bigger in terms of supporting the government to protect life and property.

He reiterated that the Police Commissioner or the Assistant Inspector General cannot be everywhere at all times but that the motorcycle operators also owe it a duty to take the necessary steps about the identities of Policemen who engage in such infractions, adding that such officers would be fished out.

Fashola also called for the setting up of Contact Committees across the various Police Area Commands, which should be decentralized by the Local Government Chairmen down the line so that the face of those monitoring and supervising is well known to the people.

The Governor said if complaints would be raised by the commercial motorcycle operators against the implementation of the law, it is only after they have complied with its provisions that government can take feedback and possibly review some part of it.

Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa said the State Traffic Law 2012 has assisted the government to get a high level of compliance which has come with a lot of media advocacy.

He stressed that the Traffic Law came into being not only to improve the responsibility of preservation of life and property, improve security, traffic situation but also to improve traffic management and control in the State.

The Lagos State Chairman of the Association of All Nigerian Auto-bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association (ANACOWA), Mr Ade Ikuesan had described the State Traffic Law as a good law that has prevented riders from having accidents on the roads.

He pleaded with the State to assist in stopping the harassment of Okada riders by some people who are taking advantage of the implementation of the law because they are law abiding citizens who would not violate any law of the state.

Also speaking, Chairman, Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State (MOALS), Mr Tijani Pekins pleaded with the Governor to ensure that he does everything possible to make sure that Okadas exist in Lagos State, adding that many of the Okadas that ply restricted routes belong to non-members of the recognized unions of Okada riders in the State.

 

Fashola has no right to ban us on federal highways – Okada riders

A Lagos High Court has granted accelerated hearing into the suit filed by some commercial motorcycle operators,known as  okada riders, against the Lagos State Government for banning their operations on some federal highways in the state.

The suit filed by the commercial motorcycle operators under the aegis of the All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and workers Association (ANACOWA) want the court to declare Section 3(1) of the new Lagos Traffic Law, which prohibits the riding, driving or propelling of a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on the major highways in Lagos, as unconstitutional.

They further asked for a declaration that the defendants have no power ‘whatsoever’ to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or Highway Roads.

They argue that restricting their operations on the said roads would violate their rights to freedom of movement, guaranteed by Section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

The defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye.

Presiding Justice Aishat Opesanwo however dismissed an interlocutory application which they filed to restrain the government from implementing the new Lagos State Traffic Law.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Bamidele Aturu, told the court that they were withdrawing their interlocutory application so that they could get an accelerated hearing of the main suit.

“We believe that there is a need for the court to urgently deal with this matter because it is in the interest of the generality of the populace”adding that “many of them (Okada riders) have been suffering from this draconian action of the government to restrict the motorcyclists from operating in federal high ways” stated Mr Aturu.

“We are therefore asking the court to strike out the application and grant us an accelerated hearing of the substantive suit”, he said.

In the main suit, the motorcyclists challenged the ban placed on them from plying 475 roads in the state.

Road rampage

However, the Attorney general of the State, Mr Ade Ipaye who is the third defendant and counsel to Lagos State Government, informed the court that the law was already being enforced in the state with effect from the 2nd of August 2012.

He noted that “it was in reaction to its enforcement that the claimants herein only on Monday October 22, 2012 went on rampage.”

The Attorney General also noted that the law enforcement agencies were not joined as defendants in the suit.

“They are not parties to this action and we cannot tell this honourable court that they will not do their duty in enforcing the law”, he said.

The court has however fixed the 16th of November for hearing of the substantive suit.