Lagos begins release of vehicles impounded by LASTMA
THERE was joy among some Lagosians yesterday as the state’s traffic management authority (LASTMA) started releasing impounded vehicles to their owners.
This action, The Guardian gathered, was on account of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s order that all vehicles in LASTMA custody be immediately released to their owners without condition.
Sources at the LASTMA headquarters yesterday revealed that there were no few than 400 impounded vehicles at the Oshodi centre and 40 zones spread across the state, all of which had been seized for various traffic offences in the last three years.
In a related development, the governor has also sacked the LASTMA General Manager (GM), Babatunde Edu, and replaced him with a new GM who was due to be officially confirmed yesterday.
Barely hours after news of the release order went to town, the owners, mostly commercial bus drivers, started visiting LASTMA headquarters in Oshodi to collect their vehicles with just prove of ownership.
Some who came with their fine tickets of between N25,000 to N300,000 (for trucks), but who had been unable to pay, were also excited as their properties were released without condition.
A LASTMA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said the release actually started on Wednesday at the Oshodi headquarters, and is due to spread to all LASTMA zones today.
Confirming the development, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Oluseyi Whenu, said this was part of Ambode’s promise that his administration would have a human face, making lives easier, simpler and happier.
Whenu urged all motorists, whose vehicles had been apprehended in the past, to visit the appropriate LASTMA depot for claim of their vehicles after proper documentation, assuring them of a more flexible process for prompt service delivery.
He said while the governor’s directive does not proscribe arrest of traffic offenders, officials of LASTMA had been directed to adopt the system of booking traffic offenders, rather than apprehending their vehicles on the spot, to ensure free flow of traffic across the metropolis.