Ambode’s directive to LASTMA: NURTW, motorists urge compliance with traffic laws



Mr Tajudeen Agbede, the Lagos State Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), on Saturday urged members to obey traffic laws and traffic officers in ensuring sanity on Lagos roads.

Agbede told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that drivers should observe traffic laws or face the necessary sanctions.

He spoke against the backdrop of a directive by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to officials of State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to be civil in the discharge of their operations.

NAN reports that Ambode had on Wednesday met with officials of LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) and Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), saying Lagos will be a chaotic city without LASTMA officials.

But he cautioned against agencies of government torturing citizens or making life miserable for them through their actions.

Ambode said:“I would make life simpler for every Lagosian and I would make each Lagosian to happier than ever before.

“The duty of every one of you here including me is to make life easier for every Lagosian. Whatever role we find ourselves, the question is, what is it that I am doing or that I have been told to do.

“ Should I do it and make life simpler? Should I make people that come across me in the course of my duty happier ?’’

Agbede lauded the governor for the note of caution to the traffic officials, saying traffic rules should be enforced in a civilized manner.

“I appreciate the governor’s directive to its officers to carry out their duties in a civilized manner while arresting traffic offenders.

“Motorists and NURTW members should not see the directive as a means of flouting traffic laws of the state or even abuse the opportunity or the officers.

“But rather, they should see it as a good gesture to also be civil in their operations too and conduct themselves well on the roads,’’ he told NAN.

Simon Okoji, a commercial bus driver, noted that LASTMA officials’ job was crucial to road traffic management in the state.

He said the union should educate its members properly on the import of the governor’s directive.

“The directive should be interpreted well to the members on how they should go about their business and not to attack LASTMA officials.

“Severe punishment still awaits any motorist who disobeys traffic laws.

“Most of our members do not understand the governor’s directive … some even thought that the state has ordered the traffic officers not to make any arrest at all.

“So most of our members still need to be educated on the directive,” he also told NAN.

Hakeem Openiyi, another commercial motorist, who was excited about the governor’s directive, said it would check impunity and recklessness on the part of the traffic officials.

“We are very happy that the present government has defined civilized ways of making arrests instead of the daily scuffles between the officers and motorists.”

A tricycle operator, Lekan Olaolu, also urged members of his association to obey the traffic rules, saying “anyone who violates rules will still face the full wrath of the law.

“The governor did not say that offenders should not be arrested, but that arrest should be done according to laid down rules.

“He only frowned at harassing or rough handling motorists as such actions give bad image to the state.’’

NAN also reports that the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Habib Aruna, had on Wednesday in a statement clarified the governor’s directive, stating that LASTMA should treat the public civilly.

“Don’t victimize Lagosians, there are more civil ways to control and arrest offenders. From now on, no harassment; you are enforcement officers and not harassment officers, arrest people in civil manner,” the statement said.

It said LASTMA officials should embrace the use of technology in arresting or contravening vehicles instead of physical arrest of motorists and vehicles at the scene of incidents.

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