Lagos Road Traffic Law: Fashola Takes Sensitisation Campaign To Yoruba Tennis Club
Sep 5, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Wednesday night took his sensitization campaign on the new State Road Traffic Law to the Yoruba Tennis Club, stressing that the initiative is about reducing the number of people being killed on the road through avoidable causes.
Governor Fashola who had an interactive session with members at the Club in Central Lagos said although some people had complained that the santions were very stiff, it should be noted that they were aimed at deterring extreme cases of misbehavior by motorists.
The Governor who expressed surprise that some people could complain about the sanctions meant for non-compliance to the laws stated that it only showed the mindset of some people with intent on flouting the law.
He explained that some offences in Nigerian laws carry the maximum capital punishment of death penalty, yet Nigerians have not cried to the high heavens that such provisions are draconian.
"If we promote safe behavior and compliance among ourselves, then we will be promoting safe behavior and compliance among those who look up to us and those who are still coming after us", the Governor said.
According to the Governor, "The development of public consciousness represents the most noble way to reduce accidents on the roads. That explains why I decided to visit the club members to explain what the law entails to you".
Governor Fashola reiterated that unless and until the people decide and resolve to develop a mind to abide by traffic rules, whatever strategy the government may put in place may face a lot of challenges.
He added that he is at the club to enlist the support and cooperation of the members in their various capacities as parents, employers and opinion leaders by impressing it upon all those whom they can talk to so that together with the government, an elite consensus could be formed on the new law.
The Governor informed that already some organizations have started asking their legal departments to organize training sessions for drivers and those who might be involved in transportation management to equip them with their obligations under the new law.
Governor Fashola also used the opportunity to implore those who have not done similar things in their organizations or companies to immediately organize similar things as many people and organizations would draw inspirations from them.
The Governor expressed dismay that several unimaginable things are happening on the roads in the State, citing the prevalence of different trucks, wheel barrows and carts on the major roads such as Ikorodu Road. He said that such contraptions have in many cases led to traffic mishaps.
The State Governor informed that the new law has made provisions to check such illegalities and has also ensured that it checks the uncontrolled rise in the number of unapproved vehicles undertaking commercial businesses on the roads adding that provisions have been made in the new law about some of the major roads and bridges where the okadas and three wheelers cannot ply.
Condemning the use of mobile phones while driving, Governor Fashola said research has shown that any driver that is using the mobile phone is at a multiple risk of colliding with another vehicle "because only a focused driver can drive safely and also ensure safety of other road users".
Breathalyzers, Governor Fashola stated have also been introduced to check the level of alcohol in the system of a driver at any point in time, pointing out that visits by teams from the Ministry of Health to major motor parks have shown that several drivers endanger the lives of their passengers by being under the influence of alcohol and several intoxicants before embarking on journeys.
He said the new law also forbids the engagement of drivers in multi tasks like smoking, counting of money and using the hand to eat and drink while driving, adding that accidents do not give notices before they occur .
The State Governor stated that government on its part has also ensured that it provided an additional 15,000 road signs across the length and breadth of the state in addition to the 10,000 that was available before now.
Governor Fashola informed that the administration is working with the Judiciary to ensure that custodial sentences are really the last resort if indeed any sentence is passed on any culprit.
He said the government believes that people can err but must be given another chance, stating that each suspected offender will be prosecuted on the merit of each case and such a person will enjoy the presumption of innocence until he is proven guilty.
The Governor who recalled that as a child he rode bicycles across the streets of Lagos said it was regrettable that no parent is willing to contemplate such anymore because of the fear of one's child or ward been knocked down by a motorcycle.
"The present administration is committed to making Lagos safer for the next generation", the Governor said, adding that other ways of ensuring this include the reversing of all unsalutary things that used to happen.
Governor Fashola also said government has started the Be Raod Friendly Initiative (BRF) awareness programme for children through which new ideas have been developed on how road culture could be improved upon.
Describing tricycles ("Keke Marwa") as importations which represent poverty from Asia in an exercise which is creating jobs for people abroad but perpetrating poverty in the country, Governor Fashola argued that 'Keke Marwas' and 'okadas' should not be the legacy that Lagosians would want to hand over to the next generation of their children.
"That is why we are building the Lagos Light Rail project and that is why we also started a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which has been expanded to reach places like Alimosho, Murtala Mohammed Way and other places. We have also awarded contracts for the expansion of Mile 12 into Ikorodu road with a BRT lane built into it. A BRT lane is also built into the expansion of the Lagos Badagry Expressway", the Governor said
He emphasized that no one must lose sight of the fact that in resolving to continue to invest its time energy and money in road safety, the state wants to reduce the needless sufferings of families across Lagos who have lost a breadwinner, relatives or loved ones through road mishaps.
Governor Fashola who also had an interactive session with the club members said it terms of how government will ensure the effectiveness of the enforcement, all security agencies have met and mapped out strategies, restating however that the government is more concerned with self compliance than enforcement.
He said the blame on why the okada menace has persisted till now should be laid at the doorstep of citizens who continually keep the okada riders in business by patronizing them and making it possible for the business to flourish, saying the moment every club member impresses it on their relatives and employees to stop patronizing the motorcycles they will go out of business.
The Governor who acknowledged that no law is perfect challenged the people who have any complaints on the law that will require government to extend its frontiers and reconsider certain things to come forward.
Reacting to a question on traffic bottlenecks in the State, the Governor said the State recognizes the challenges which have resulted from the deviation from the original masterplan.
He said government also brought interventions to ease traffic in some parts of the State like at the point near Muson and another one opposite Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja where a u-turn was moved further down to enable traffic flow.
On the prevalence of foreigners who flout traffic laws and go scot free, the Governor said the act is being perpetrated because such foreigners have seen Nigerians do the same, adding that it goes to show that if Nigerians obey rules and regulations outside the country, they should do so more seriously at home because Nigeria is the place they call home.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Club and elder statesman, Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN) had earlier during the interactive session identified effective control of traffic and enforcement of the law in the state as the only solution to the intractable problem of traffic bottlenecks in the State.
The Governor was accompanied on the visit by some members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa and was received by the executive of Yoruba Tennis Club including the Chairman, Mr Bolaji Cole and Vice Chairman, Mr Seyi Joseph.