Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, has vowed to prosecute policemen and military officers violating the state’s Road Traffic Law, saying such bad eggs must be dealt with without mercy.
Speaking during the presentation of the 2014 budget proposal to the Lagos State House of Assembly at Alausa in Lagos on Wednesday, the governor decried the attitude of policemen and military officers who break the traffic law with impunity.
“Let me say to them clearly, that it is bad enough if law enforcement personnel violate the laws they are constitutionally paid to enforce, it is the height of impunity if they do so in uniform.”
Fashola said while the traffic law was being obeyed by many Lagosians, “I cannot say the same for a few law enforcement agents and few military personnel who have either turned enforcement into an extortion exercise for money or have seen themselves as above the law by violating our traffic laws and BRT Laws.
“That uniform is the symbol of the authority of the State and it is funded from tax payers’ money. I have news for those bad eggs who give law enforcement a bad name in this country. We will bring you to justice and make examples of you; before you bring dishonour to these timeless institutions that have produced officers and true gentlemen,” he vowed.
However, Fashola said he was happy that the traffic law, since its commencement had been working and had recorded huge success, saying that he was elated that one year after, things had taken shape in the transportation sector in the state.
Reeling out statistics, Fashola said: “Traffic accidents have reduced from 646 reported accidents in August 2012 to 118 reported accidents in July 2013, and deaths from motorcycle accidents have reduced from an average of 12 per month to one per month and indeed no deaths were recorded in August, September, and October.
“We are concluding plans to implement the next phase of the law, and we have been working with the transport unions to sensitize them.”
Fashola reiterated that out of over 10,000 roads in Lagos, the law restricted motorcycles from plying only 475, which were highways, if such motorcycles were not up to the 200 cc capacity.
He said the law also provides that in the over 9,000 roads where there is no restriction, the riders must wear safety helmets and not carry more than one passenger.
Speaking after the budget presentation, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji called on residents of the state to be interested in the 2014 budget and its performance.
He said this was because lack of interest in governance often has a damning effect on the people for which the government exists.
“I enjoin Lagosians to take an interest in this matter because as Plato rightly said: ‘the punishment we suffer, if we refuse to take an interest in governmental matters, is to live under the government of worse men,’” he said.
While thanking God for giving the state men who truly knew why they were in leadership, the Speaker also promised that the House would do everything within its capacity to pass the budget without delay.
“The presentation of the budget by the Governor before this legislative Assembly is a constitutional matter. In Section 121 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria it is stipulated that, ‘the Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the Revenue and Expenditure of the State for the next financial year.
“This is to seek legislative approval for the amount of money to be received from stipulated sources and spent on specific items in the coming financial year. I want to assure you on behalf of all of us in the House of Assembly that we will apply our utmost best, within our legislative powers to give this budget proposal the detailed attention it deserves for its transformation into appropriation bill for the benefit, prosperity, growth and development of Lagos State and Lagosians,” he stated.
According to Ikuforiji, “it is pertinent to remind us that this budget proposal is the penultimate and last full year budget that will be presented and equally executed by your Excellency before the expiration of the 7th Assembly and your administration.
“As the House of Assembly parleys with the executive to move the state forward, let me reiterate here that there is a great need to also put life in our local councils so that they can realise the objectives of their existence. There are indications that the various local government councils and local council development areas could perform better than they do presently if they are adequately funded and monitored.
“The councils are the levels of government closest to the masses. We must strive to strengthen them to fast-track people oriented programmes. Our desire to institutionalise responsible governance at the local government areas informed the assembly’s supervisory roles over these councils. The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency voluntarily shed weight by re-allocating the excess funds it collects from federation purse to the states and local governments.”
—Kazeem Ugbodaga & Eromosele Ehbomele