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September 20, 2022

Auctioned vehicles saga: Lagos moves to amend 2018 transport law

Auctioned vehicle

Dismisses social media trending traffic law offences fines

As Lagos PDP, guber candidate, Jandor affirms stance on auction law

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, has said the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law (2018) is currently being reviewed by the Lagos State House of Assembly for amendment.

This came as the Special Adviser on Transportation to the state Governor, Sola Giwa, debunked the wide-spread comprehensive list of Lagos Traffic Laws offences fines being circulated by a media source, Crime-Fighters, urging the public to disregard it as “it’s not authentic.”

On the amended state traffic laws, Onigbanjo, who spoke on the backdrop of recently auctioned vehicles by the state government, disclosed this while featuring on an early morning Television programme on Tuesday, in Lagos.

Recall that Vanguard Newspapers had reported last Thursday, how emotions ran high after over 130 vehicles confiscated for various traffic offences, particularly, driving against traffic, known as ‘One-Way’ were auctioned to the public.

The vehicles were auctioned by the Lagos State Government through its Ministry of Justice and the State Taskforce, held at the agency’s Yard, Alausa, Ikeja. The act was strongly criticized by members of the public, describing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration as too “draconian.”

A widow, Eorothy Dike, 49, and her son, Osinachi Ndukwe, who openly begged for price reduction when their mini bus (Korope) bought on hire-purchase at the price of N1.8 million was auctioned for N450,000, along with others at various prices.

Succor, subsequently, came the way of Dike and her son, Ndukwe, when she confirmed that her family had received over N1 million donations from members of the public so far.

The widow who spoke with Vanguard, in her one-room apartment in Ogba-Aguda area of Lagos, on Monday, said she has been receiving donations from well-meaning Nigerians including the Governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olajide Adediran, popularly called Jandor and his running mate, Funke Akindele, who visited her and her son at the weekend, with donation of N500, 000.

The donation by the PDP candidate elicited reaction from the ruling All Progressives Party, APC, which accused the candidate of encouraging traffic offence in the state.

Auctioned vehicle

However, Onigbanjo said, “The Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law is currently being reviewed by the state House of Assembly and amendments will be in place as soon as possible.

“This issue of driving against traffic has become such a nuisance, such a danger, and such a menace to society that something drastic has to be done and the legislators at that time imposed these penalties.

“There is a process to amend the law so people can go up to their representatives in the state house of assembly and make agitations that in our view, this is draconian and we think you should change the law. That could kick-start the process but ongoing right now, there is a process to review the law.”

Onigbanjo, however, stressed that “the law remains as at today, people should be well-advised not to jeopardise their own interest.”

He therefore, warned commercial drivers and other motorists not to jeopardise their means of livelihood by flouting traffic laws and killing innocent road users and passersby in the process.

According to Onigbanjo, “Lagos is a city where law and order must be obeyed and not a jungle where there is anarchy and bedlam.

“The essence of the law is deterrence. Some people say the punishment is not appropriate but it depends on their perspectives.”

Onigbanjo noted that most Nigerians who contravene traffic laws at home obey such laws when they travel overseas.

“Government does not set out to punish its citizens but there must be law and order. Whilst some will like to complain when these laws are enforced, the minute most Nigerians travel abroad, they comply with every law. The law is for the benefit of all, it is for our sanity.

“Do not put your means of livelihood in jeopardy by breaching the law and then when you breach the law, you then try to whip up sentiments.

“If you see the Lady of Justice, it is blindfolded, it doesn’t look at emotions; the law does not look at emotions. Why risk your means of livelihood if you know it is the only thing you have to sustain yourself economically? Why risk it by breaching the law?” Onigbanjo queried.

Affirms due process in auction of vehicles

The AG further said the recent auction of vehicles over traffic violations was the second auction conducted since assumption of Governor Sanwo-Olu into office.

The justice commissioner insisted that due process was followed in the auction of the vehicles last week, noting that traffic offenders were given the opportunity to defend themselves before judges and magistrates.

“All the cars that were forfeited were abandoned and then notices were even given in newspapers that if your car has been abandoned in the yard, you can still come and pick it up before the auction date.

“In respect to the auctioned cars, they were forfeited pursuant to orders of the law,” he maintained.

Widow, and son

In the case of the man, Ndukwe whose video went viral, Onigbanjo stressed that the accused had assaulted and injured a police officer while he was apprehended driving against “One Way,” he was charged to court and pleaded guilty.

Also, while addressing pressmen at the event, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Shola Jejeloye, said that there are several dangers inherent in driving against traffic (one way).

He said 80 per cent of hit and run victims on Lagos roads were knocked down especially in the morning, by motorists who drove against traffic.

Traffic laws offences fines

Fake/controversial Lagos traffic law offences and fines

On the trending traffic laws offences fines, Giwa, while responding to question by our correspondent, said, “Please, the list should be disregarded. Crime-fighters are not Lagos State Government. It’s not authentic.”

The purported Lagos traffic laws being circulated had 32 listed offences and fines including jail terms.

Jandor tweets again

Meanwhile, Jandor, in a latest tweets @officialjandor, responded to the state government and All Progressives Congress, APC, statements on the issue of auctioned vehicles, saying, “I stand by our action.”

According to the tweets, “This morning, my attention was called to my very good egbon’s programme, uncle Jimi Disu and I took my time to listen. In as much as my egbon, whom I hold dearly has a right to his opinion on the subject matter, I am so happy that Funke and I were able to restore the livelihood of the two victims of the state traffic draconian laws.

“By our action, we have saved Lagos of yet another set of possible criminals often produced as an aftermath of the insensitive nature of this government.

“These two young men are most likely to have taken up the option of crimes, but for our intervention. I did say during my visit to them, that it’s not to encourage people to go on the wrong side of the law, but to affirm that as a state, you don’t create another problem while trying to solve one.

“The only time people behaved themselves on Lagos roads was during Governor Fashola’s regime and he didn’t crush, auction or take away anyone’s means of livelihood, and yet people obeyed the Law.

“He simply provided leadership and led by example, and people respected him for that. This, I repeat, is a sign of weakness on the part of the current Governor. We will do better. I stand by our action.”

Jandor had in an earlier tweets, said his visit to the widow and her son was not to encourage traffic offence “but taking one’s means of livelihood in the name of penalty for traffic offence is inhumane.”