July 17, 2012

Lagos rolls out new fines for traffic offences


By the time Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, finally signs into law the new bill that will repeal and re-enact the road traffic law and make provisions for road traffic and vehicle inspection in the state, motorists and commercial motorcyclists, popularly called “Okada” including bullion van drivers, might be in for a very tough time with law enforcement agencies in the state.

The Lagos State House of Assembly, last Thursday, July 12, passed the bill , ready for Fashola’s assent.

The bill which emanated from the executive arm, is aimed at regulating vehicular movement and to impose strict sanctions and enforcement on any erring vehicle operator in the state.

1.Riding a motor-cycle against traffic
2. Riding on the kerb, median or road setbacks

(Penalty) 1st time offender –  N20,000.00 subsequent offender N30,000.00 or the riders motor-cycle will be impounded

3.One way driving

(Penalty) 3year jail term after psychiatric  examination

4. Smoking while driving

(Penalty) N20,000.00 fine

5. Failure to give way to traffic on the left at a roundabout

(Penalty) N20,000.00 fine

6. Disobeying traffic control

(Penalty) N20,000.00

7.Violation of route by commercial   vehicles

(Penalty) N20,000.00 fine.

8. Riding motor-cycle without crash helmet for rider and passenger

(Penalty) N20,000: 00 or 3years imprisonment or both.

9. Under aged person, under 18yrs old  riding a motorcycle

(Penalty) N20,000.00.

10. Driving without valid driver’s license.

(Penalty) Vehicle to be impounded.

11. Learner driver without permit

(Penalty) N20,000.00

12. driving with fake number plate

(Penalty) 1st offender N20,000.00 and 6 month  imprisonment or both.

Stakeholders’ react

ACCORDING to Nurudeen Owodunni, a motorist; “for me, I support the decision of the state government. This is because Nigerians especially motorists need laws like this to abide by the traffic law of the state. The havoc created by one way driving is more than the benefit that it may bring to those engaging in it.

It causes accidents and it is the genesis of traffic in Lagos state. But the aspect of the law that states jail term for anyone who drives against traffic is cruel. If the government is bent on going ahead with the law, they should also not spare officers of the Nigerian Army, police and other security agencies in the state.

Mr. Gbenga Adebayo “For me it is good because it will bring sanity to Lagos roads. They should arrest and impound any vehicles caught driving against the traffic in the state.

A commercial driver, Mr. Samuel Anthony, “the government should not think of introducing such law because those who drive against the traffic do not do it out of proportion but because they are frustrated with the level of traffic in the state caused by bad roads.

Whenever it rains in Lagos, larger percent of roads in the state will not be motor able. Before the rain, some of these roads are in poor condition. And when it rains, the some sections of the road are totally out of use because it is either water-logged or damaged by the flood.

Mr. Ishaq Jato, “Before the law can be effective, there is need for the government to provide certain things. First, the state government needs to revitalise the water and rail transport system to serve as alternative means of transportation in the state.

Mr Andrew Oke, an Okada rider, said: “Lagos state is looking for a way to ban us the Okada that is why they are coming out with this stringent law. It is unnecessary and anti people. If a ban is placed on Okada operation, movement within the congested city of Lagos will be hampered while many will be thrown into unemployment market. We are not armed robbers. After all, many of the Okada riders are unemployed graduates.”