20th November, 2013
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has vowed to arrest and prosecute Mr. Michael Ekundayo, an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, caught on video collecting N8,000 bribe from a motorist and is now on the run.
The governor also banned children and others from skating on the highways, saying that anyone caught violating the order would be arrested and prosecuted according to the dictates of the law.
Fashola, who spoke at the Blueroof Hall, Lagos Television Complex, Agidingbi in Ikeja, Lagos, western Nigeria on Tuesday before a gathering of professionals and respectable members of the society who constitute volunteers of the Special Traffic Mayors, also called for the abolishment of the Federal Housing Authority, FHA.
The governor said the LASTMA official caught negotiating bribe inside a citizen’s car had brought disgrace to the outfit and would be hunted down and prosecuted.
“I want to first salute the citizen that got the video of the LASTMA officer who was caught negotiating bribe inside a citizen’s car. We must all nail and shame him and we must all use that kind of medium to fish out all the bad eggs in the society and bring them to justice.
“That LASTMA officer is still on the run and we have declared him wanted. I can assure you today that we will get him. And as soon as we do, we will give him all his rights and he will have his day in court,” he vowed.
On skating, Fashola said he noticed that the youths had also taken to skating because the road is safe, saying government was not going to discourage them but that they should do that in designated places like recreation centres, stadia and others.
“They cannot skate on the highways. It is a violation of the traffic law 2010. I implore all parents to call their children and their wards to order because any child found skating on the highway will be arrested and will be brought to justice. It must stop today. Skating on the highways has to stop now. The danger is too much and it is the responsibility of the government to safe lives,” he stated.
On the position of the government concerning road development in FESTAC Town, Fashola explained that the state government was having an issue with the Federal government, pointing out that the taxes and land charges being collected by the FHA were being sent to Abuja.
“I have said that the Federal Housing Authority is an anathema to the current constitution. The Federal Government does not own land, so, I don’t see how it can have a housing authority. But it was created during the military and now that we are in a civilian dispensation, as I made a case on Saturday when we were in Sokoto, this is one of the laws that the National Assembly should simply amend or repeal to bring them in conformity with the current dispensation,” he said.
On LASTMA, the governor pointed out that its primary responsibility was to keep the state traffic moving, stressing that “this is the reason why the agency exists. Arresting traffic offenders is secondary. If making an arrest will increase the traffic, let the offenders go. I say this not because I don’t want law breakers to be apprehended and brought to justice. But law breakers cannot undermine our main objective.
“The longer people stay more in traffic, the more money is wasted and fuel are burnt and when people stay more in traffic, this leads to increase in the price of goods in the state. But with a moving traffic, price of goods will be stable.”
Fashola explained that the challenge of managing traffic in Lagos State necessitated the need for the meeting with the Special Traffic Mayors, while stressing the need to pay attention to road safety measures for the betterment of all.
“Over the last few days, we have begun to experience traffic gridlock within the state. There are couples of factors that we all must be aware. We promised to address inner roads and at the moment we have commenced work on 200 inner roads in the state. It shouldn’t be surprising that the construction is causing traffic in the state because these are areas where people are already living especially on Joel Ogunnaike, Kodesho and others.
“The access to those roads will definitely be impaired. That is part of the problem. Also, we are getting closer to the Christmas and New Year. At this time, there is heavy movement of people at the same time on the road,” he explained.