Stay in your village if you can’t obey our traffic law – Fashola

The Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola has vowed to enforce the new traffic law and the existing environmental laws of the state to ensure the state remains environmentally-friendly.

The governor, who disclosed this on Tuesday after visiting some on-going projects sites, however warned visitors and those interested in coming to live in Lagos to keep abreast with the details of these laws so as not to break them.

Mr Fashola said the state government will not fold its arms while some residents live in Lagos as if they are living in their villages.

“You can’t continue to live like you are in your village here in Lagos. Life in Lagos is changing by the day. The government has spent fortune to ensure good environment, drainages, roads and transportation system. It is unfortunate some people are still living as if they are in their village.

“Please, if you can’t obey our environmental and traffic laws, stay back in your village,” the governor warned.

Judge traffic offenders without fear or favour, Fashola appeals to judicial officers

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola on Monday attended the special service organized to herald the beginning of the 2012/2013 Legal year, appealing to all the judicial officers before whom people will be brought in the implementation of the new Traffic law to dispense justice without fear or favour.

The Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola (middle) with Honourable Judges of the High Court of Lagos State during a Special Prayer Service for the opening of the 2012/2013 Legal Year at the Central Mosque, Lagos Island.

The governor who spoke at the Central Mosque, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Lagos before a gathering of serving and retired judges, Magistrates, senior lawyers and other legal practitioners said they must ensure that no innocent person is unjustly punished.

He explained that as a government the present administration in Lagos State has worked with the Legislature to enact a life changing law which will of course need the support of the judicial arm to give effect to it.

“In our state today, road traffic and public transportation has played quite some roles in defining the quality of life we live. How much time we spend at home and how much productivity we ultimately get through when we get to work. How much sleep and wellbeing we ultimately enjoy.

Indeed, it is a major determinant of our life expectancy. Needless deaths, untimely deaths have become a scourge in our national life”, the Governor added.

Mr Fashola said the people face enormous challenges that put to test its resolve for self-governance including issues of national security which has at its base the twin pillars of law and order.

He said with the very best efforts, the Parliamentarians will make laws that are aimed at securing life and property while the executive will continue to exert itself towards implementing those laws, adding that whether it succeeds of not will depend on the Judiciary.

The governor also underscored the role judges play in engineering the society, saying the nation’s law books are replete with judges who have helped to engineer the society and who have passed on.

He urged the judges who serve in Lagos today to draw inspiration and example from those types of judges both locally and internationally.

“You must also understand that you are social and economic engineers. How quickly Justice is dispensed will determine how quickly citizens get a house. It will determine whether they get it at all. Indeed how quickly and correctly Justice is dispensed will determine how quickly people get homes”.

“In a part of Lagos, we are building a road which has led to the acquisition of some properties. Some cases are in court and because they are in court, the road cannot continue. The interest of one citizen has affected the interest of other citizens. Because one man is in court, our contractor has stopped work on the road at one point and jumped to the other point where the fence of the property sits and continued the road”, the Governor added.

The Governor said the road in question will not be useful to anyone until the contractor is allowed by the court to move across and connect the road from where he was stopped.

He reiterated that as the new legal year commences, the members of the judicial arm must work hard to build a state that everyone would be proud of and remember that they are all inheritors of a very great legacy that was passed on to them.

He prayed for good health and the mercies of God for the members of the Bar and the Bench as they commence the journey into the new legal year and that all those who seek justice before them will get it.

Police re-arraign banker over death of LASTMA official

The Police on Wednesday re-arraigned Yinka Johnson, a banker in Lagos, who was earlier accused of killing an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASMA), Hameed Balogun, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on a one count of reckless driving.

The Land Rover Jeep with registration No- CY 276 LSD driven by the accused.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Police prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu, applied to the court to withdraw the earlier charge of manslaughter and substituted it with the new one.

The old charge which was drafted on the old Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2003 was replaced with the new Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012.

The new charge read, “That you Yinka Johnson ‘on August 10, at about 8:30am at Mega Chicken, Ikota Ajah expressway Lekki, Lagos did drive your Land Rover Jeep with registration No- CY 276 LSD on the highway recklessly by driving your vehicle against oncoming vehicle and without reasonable consideration for other road users and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 7(b) of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012.”

The accused however pleaded not guilty to the new charge.

Attempts by the lawyer of the accused, Emeka Okpoko to argue that his client cannot be charged under the new traffic law as it is yet to be enforced proved abortive.

Mr Okpoko argued that various publications in some newspapers gave the impression that the law was yet to take effect as government planned to carry out public enlightenment on the said law before implementing it.

The trial Magistrate, Jacob Adegun ruled that the Prosecution has the right to substitute the charge under the law.

After the arraignment, the police prosecutor informed the court that Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has called for the case file and urged the court to adjourn the matter until the DPP gives further directive on the matter.

The accused person was however, granted bail on the earlier conditions while the Magistrate has adjourned the case till 28 September for mention.

The court had earlier granted bail to Mrs Johnson in the sum N50, 000 with one surety in like sum.

Mrs Johnson, an employee of Stanbic IBTC, drove a Range Rover Jeep against traffic at Mega City, Ikota, along Lekki-Epe Expressway and was accosted by a LASTMA official who allegedly seized the keys of the vehicle.

Eye witnesses reportedly said while the traffic official attempted to cross to the other side of the road, he was crushed by a fast moving commercial bus.

Commissioner explains new Lagos traffic law

The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye on Tuesday gave a detailed explanation to the reasons why the government drafted the new law regulating traffic in the city.

Mr Ipaye, who was speaking as a guest in Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that before the law was enacted, the chaotic traffic situation in Lagos posed a threat to people’s health, careers and family life.

Fashola bans trailers from Lagos road during day time

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola on Thursday signed into law the bill restricting the movement of trailers on Lagos road between the hours of 6am and 9pm.

The governor assented to the Lagos State Road Traffic Bill at a ceremony attended by members of the executive council, top officials of the police force and other traffic management agencies in the state.

Mr Fashola said the new law was a holistic review of the state’s Traffic Law of 2003, adding that it was designed to ensure safety on the roads.

He said that the growth of Lagos into a mega city with large migration into the state had resulted in traffic congestion, saying that the new law was one of government`s strategies to manage the situation.

“This new law is also the state government`s intervention to the alarming statistics of road accidents, especially those caused by reckless driving and activities of commercial motorcyclists.”

“From records at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), 722 accidents were reported, comprising 568 males and 154 females between January and July this year.”

“At our Toll Gate Trauma Centre, 254 accidents, which resulted in 35 deaths, were recorded during the same period. Fifty per cent of the cases were caused by okada riders, 27 per cent of the victims were passengers and 23 per cent pedestrians.”

“These are alarming figures and we cannot afford to allow this to continue, hence our intervention with this law,” he said.

Mr Fashola said that the real objective of the new law was to improve the traffic situation in Lagos and not to arbitrarily send people to jail. He enjoined road users to voluntary comply with the law.

The governor vowed that his government would strictly implement the law, assuring that offenders would be given fair hearing and would be accorded the right to defend themselves during prosecution.

Life expectancy

The Attorney General and Lagos State Commission of Justice Ade Ipaye said the law sought to promote the life expectancy of residents as it would significantly reduce congestion on the roads.

Mr Ipaye said that the law would address the safety and security issues associated with operations of commercial motorcyclists and illegal use of vehicles in the state.

He said the law would not be implemented immediately, adding that a lot of public enlightenment would be carried out while copies distributed to residents.

The Law

The new law spells out what constitutes traffic offences in Lagos State, as well as the penalty each attracted.

According to the law, trailers, with the exemption of fuel tankers and long passenger trucks are now prohibited from entering into or travelling within the metropolis from 6 am to 9pm.

Violators risk impoundment of their vehicles and payment of N50, 000 fine or six months imprisonment.

Another salient provision of the law is the prohibition of eating, counting money, making phone calls and engaging in other dangerous activities while driving, prescribing a fine of N30,000 for violators.

Other highlights included the ban on operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles on major bridges, Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway and Lekki-Epe Expressway.

It also compelled commercial bus drivers and their conductors to wear identification tags while property owners are also compelled to report cases of abandoned vehicles in their vicinity or risk punishment.

Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) are empowered to administer breathalyzers on drivers to detect their drunkenness while owners of commercial vehicles are compelled to obtain operating licenses from government.