Lagos Combats Traffic Congestion With 1000 Men, 50 Bikes
Jan 9, 2008 - Traffic management and control in Lagos State received a boost Wednesday as the State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) launched 50 new High Tech Patrol Motorcycles for the state’s Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).
In a colourful ceremony at the Headquarters of the agency, the Governor also presided over the passing out of 1000 LASTMA personnel and inaugurated the state’s 500-stong Special Traffic Mayors’
Speaking at the ceremony, the Governor said efforts would be concentrated on identified traffic choke points such as Western Avenue, Third Mainland Bridge, Mile 2, Ikorodu Road, Alapere , Iju in Ogba, Apapa and Anthony Oke adding that traffic monitoring would be intensified during the peak periods of morning when people are rushing to work and evenings when they are returning from work.
Recalling the several occasions he had personally arrested traffic offenders, Fashola announced the granting of amnesty to two convicted offenders, Dr. Obinnaya Odigbo Egwu and Mr. Lawrence Ayodeji, saying the act was to enhance traffic management since pardoned men have shown remorse and in the process now have enhanced capacity to help enforce the state’s traffic laws .
The governor, however, read the riot act to traffic offenders on Lagos roads, saying enough is enough for any form of traffic indiscipline in the state.
Fashola, who spoke at a ceremony to launch 50 new Patrol Bikes for the State’s Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), mark the Official Passing out of 1000 LASTMA Personnel and Inaugurate Special Traffic Mayors (STM), also declared zero tolerance for any such offences in the state henceforth.
The governor who described violators of traffic rules and regulations of the state as ‘the greatest enemies of the state’, said the traffic situation of any country was “a powerful indicator of the degree of civilization, the level of discipline, the ethical standard, the measure of self-esteem and indeed the quality of collective mental health of the people”.
“For one, it portrays us as an inherently lawless people who are incapable of respecting the rules and regulations that ought to govern a civilized community”, the governor said, adding that traffic indiscipline and chaos were among the most frequently cited reasons why foreign investors were reluctant to do business in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Acknowledging that some measure of traffic congestion was inevitable in a highly populated Mega-city like Lagos with the highest vehicular density of 222 vehicles per kilometer, Fashola, however, pointed out that when traffic rules and regulations were obeyed, the inevitable heavy traffic on the roads could be efficiently and effectively managed.
“If, on the other hand, we try to beat traffic by driving against on-coming vehicles, disregarding traffic lights or other such irresponsible behaviours, we only worsen the situation to our collective detriment”, he said.
Recalling the several occasions he had apprehended violators of traffic rules on some of the roads in the state, the governor lamented that those involved in the offence were not just illiterate and uninformed persons but include highly educated professionals, adding, “Things have degenerated so badly that even expatriates now boldly violate our traffic regulations simply because we do not respect our own laws”.
The governor commended LASTMA for working very hard to reduce to the barest minimum the snarls and carnages on the roads in the state, noting that the agency was doing its best under very challenging circumstances.
He expressed happiness over the addition of 1000 personnel to the agency’s workforce, saying in doing so, the government has created 1000 jobs for the young men and women who have formally joined the agency to tackle the traffic problems in the state.
According to the governor, the resolve of the state government to continuously enhance the capacity of LASTMA to deliver on its mandate has been demonstrated by the launch of additional 50 High Tech Guzzi motorcycles and accessories procured for the agency by the government.
“This equipment will facilitate easy movement and maneuvering of patrol officers to tackle snarls at critical choke points”, he said, adding that it would also ensure timely gathering and dissemination of information for effective traffic control and management.
Inaugurating the Special Traffic Mayors which has former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Grand Mayor , the governor said the challenge of ensuring traffic discipline and efficiency on the state’s roads could not be left in the hands of LASTMA alone, adding, “It must be the collective responsibility of every citizen because our interest is at stake”.
He said the STM corps would comprise ‘accomplished men and women of very high integrity and moral standing who have volunteered to help maintain sanity on our roads’, adding that the corps would take of with 500 eminent men and women.
Some of the mayors decorated at the ceremony include Governor Fashola, the Deputy Governor, Princess Adebisi Sosan, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, some members of the State Executive Council, Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos Council, Deputy Managing Director of Skye Bank, popular artist and actor, Mr. Jide Kosoko and others.