Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has justified the introduction of the Traffic Law in the State, saying he aimed to save lives, which was being achieved with reduction in the rate of road traffic accidents and deaths arising from the use of commercial motorcycles.
Fashola, who addressed members at the Greetings Hall, Onikan, Lagos, said the foremost priority of the government in enacting the traffic law was to keep the people alive and safe.
He backed his report with statistics, pointing out that before July when the law came into force, very few people were attending the Drivers Institutes for certification but by September, attendance had risen to 13,322.
“Out of the number, 11,986 had very good vision while about 1,346 of them which represented about 10 percent were driving with impaired vision and constituted dangers to themselves and other road users but have had their eye defects corrected.
“Also in September, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of vehicles that had voluntarily come in for road worthiness certification which was not the case before the enactment. What that means is that when vehicles are more road-worthy, there are less likely to be accidents and less loss of lives,” he pointed out.
He stated that within the short period up to September there was an increase of 48.4perrcent in the issuance of drivers license which suggested that drivers are now being tested and would be much more road aware and safety conscious.
Continuing, Fashola declared: “Interestingly, we observed a remarkable drop by 24.2 percent in the fines that we were receiving. That is a welcome development because first of all, it meant people were complying voluntarily and also put a lie to the position canvassed by our political adversaries that the law was a revenue generation measure. As I have said, we could not fund a N497 Billion budget from road traffic fines.”
He noted that during the same period, it was also observed that there was a 16.9 percent drop in the number of vehicle offenders that were apprehended which shows that people were voluntarily complying.
According to him, at the end of September, accidents involving motorcyclists dropped by 18.7 percent and had continued to drop while in the month of October there was no reported case of motorcycle accident death.
The Governor informed the audience that the state has compiled a list of 370 high net worth tax defaulters some of who owe at least N2Million while some owe as much as N100Million, adding, “there are also prosperous people who refuse to pay taxes.”
He restated his intention to collect all such outstanding monies and appealed to all such tax defaulters to pay voluntarily.
Fashola, who also spoke on the traffic congestion being witnessed in many parts of the state said, “I think it will be fair to say not less than 50 percent of us drove ourselves here, so there are more cars on the road. And we are also seeing increases in new vehicles registrations in Lagos State which is a sign of a growing and emerging middle class.
“It has also not been helped by fuel shortages which have resulted in some instances where dual lanes have been reduced to one lane while in some instances a three lane highway is reduced to just two and therefore everyone takes his turn.
“We also see mass movement at this time of the year, end of year travels. Many of us have also been involved in distributing hampers and Christmas gifts which must be distributed on the roads. So there are more vehicular activities.”