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Lagos adopts fresh strategy to handle traffic offenders

Lagos—In its bid to ensure free flow of traffic across the metropolis, officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, have been directed to adopt the system of booking traffic offenders, rather than apprehending their vehicles. 

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Oluseyi Whenu gave the directive to officials while briefing top echelon of LASTMA on government’s new policy thrust in the transportation sector.

He said that while government appreciates the invaluable contribution of the traffic managers to the current traffic situation in the state, more emphasis should be placed on flawless traffic.

“That is the minimum we owe the people of the state”, he said, adding that LASTMA should synergize with other security agencies to ensure that the Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012 is enforced.

He therefore directed LASTMA officials to consider alternative traffic management methods rather than physical apprehension and arrest.

Whenu, in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Sina Thorpe, assured Lagos residents that a more perfect traffic management and documentation procedure is being put in place where traffic offenders are booked and given a grace period for payment and defaulters apprehended at home through the information in the motor vehicle database.

“Since LASTMA officials are a reflection of the state government, they should ensure that their activities add value to the government’s covenant with Lagos residents to make life easier for them,” he said.

He however implored Lagos residents to reciprocate government’s humanness by obeying all traffic laws and regulations.

Whenu also called on all motorists, whose vehicles have been apprehended by LASTMA in the past, to visit the appropriate LASTMA depot for claim their vehicles after proper documentation, assuring them of a more flexible process for prompt service delivery.

Meantime, there were strong indications yesterday that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode may soon effect a major restructuring of LASTMA.

This was made evident when Ambode on his return from an official trip to Abuja on Wednesday, paid an unscheduled visit to LASTMA Secretariat, Oshodi Yard to have an on-the-spot assessment of the yard.

He was said to have been surprised at the number of impounded vehicles littering the place, especially when most of the vehicles had been seized for many months, a development, which a reliable source, said irked the governor.

It was learned that Ambode, at a meeting with LASTMA authorities sometime in July, directed that all seized vehicles for various traffic offences be released and that the agency should adopt fresh method, through application of available information data with the Transport Ministry to carry out punitive measures against traffic offenders.

Apparently, to confirm the level of compliance or otherwise, the governor decided to personally check on LASTMA. It was gathered that during the visit, LASTMA General Manager, Mr. Babatunde Edu was not on seat but later went to brief the governor on why those vehicles were still in the yard.

According to the source; ‘’Edu’s replacement, who is said to be presently in Saudi Arabia on holy pilgrimage, had already been contacted over his new appointment.

“As soon as he comes back from pilgrimage his appointment will be announced,” the source said.

It was also gathered that Edu is already aware of the development and he is just buying time, the source stated.