The General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Olajide Oduyoye, has reacted to the news making the rounds that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has directed operatives of the traffic agency not to apprehend offending drivers again.
The LASTMA boss reacted to the development in a statement on Thursday.
The statement credited to Sanwo-Olu said in part: “…Henceforth no LASTMA Officials (sic) should arrest (sic) any motorist, either commercial or private. The duty of LASTMA is to manage traffic and not to arrest anyone. I have heard a lot of complaint(sic), any Officials (sic) that violate the rule of his work, will be severely dealt with.
“If at any time LASTMA Officials makes attempt to arrest you or forcefully enter your car, Don’t argue with them just allow the LASTMA to enter your car and call these numbers…. 08129928600. 08129928550. PLEASE KINDLY SHARE.”
Oduyoye stated that this is about the third time that this type of story will be making the rounds on social media by transmuting from the first one and second (created as a flyer) to this third one written like the pronouncement of the Governor.
He recollected that the company that generated the first fake news had since apologized, retracted and pulled down the news from its site earlier this year.
The General Manager further explained that the primary duties of the agency included traffic control and management.
He said this includes the arrest of recalcitrant drivers as stated in the law setting up the agency.
He said this same law was reviewed by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2018 principally with that of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service, adding: “Therefore the Governor who is our number one law abiding citizen and law enforcement officer in the State would not flout the law let alone provide the opportunity for others to do so.”
Oduyoye therefore enjoined the law abiding citizens of Lagos State and drivers that come into the State to at all times adhere strictly to the traffic laws of Lagos State in order to avoid paying the consequences of flouting it, adding: “We must all have a change towards positive attitude of obeying the Laws of the State which were made for the benefit of all, for orderliness and for fast paced socio-economic improvement of individuals, corporate entities and generality of the people.”
Oduyoye also stated that owing to “the recent #EndSARS protest violence, which resulted in looting, arson and destruction of 12 LASTMA zonal offices, physical attacks of LASTMA Officers, “which has no less left unfortunate physical and psychological scars on our operational personnel, all the same we are taking stock, restructuring and re-strategising and this is the reason why we have only about 60 per cent of our beats at some strategic intersections/junctions to eliminate frictions, reduce delays and ensure better flow of traffic.
“We are aware of the traffic congestion suffered by commuters as a result of many damaged traffic light junctions, absence of BRT bus operations, illegal vehicular movements and the general lack of respect for driving ethics by some.
“In all, the safety of every LASTMA personnel as with all Lagos resident is equally paramount.”
The General Manager assured members of the public who since the lifting of the curfew by the Governor and the full gradual return to normal life activities may have been going through harrowing traffic experience on Lagos roads in the hands of lawless motorists for the reasons described earlier on Lagos roads, to take succour in the fact that LASTMA is set to fully return to manage the road traffic, especially as the different areas become less volatile.
Oduyoye thanked all LASTMA officials from the management to field personnel especially for their cooperation with him at all times and their efforts and dedication in ensuring traffic flows and thereby ensuring reduction in journey time spent by the citizenry.
He asked that all stakeholders should look forward to better days ahead.
The LASTMA Director of Operations, Bolaji Oreagba, meanwhile had earlier assured the General Manager: “We will do what we are statutorily noted for within the ambit of our terms of reference with agrarian vigour and determination that we support the State Government under the leadership of the indomitable Governor to redeem the enviable and revered image of the state; State of Excellence and Aquatic Splendour/Glamour.
“So that Lagos shall rise again.
“We will work diligently and assiduously with the last pint of our blood (when and where necessary) to move traffic with pride and zest.
“What we expect and need is the formidable support from the superordinate officers/ employer(s).”