Governor Babatunde Fashola
By Omololu Ogunmade
As controversies continue to trail the new Lagos State Traffic Law, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Aderemi Ibirogba, has said the law will drastically curtail the powers of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) on traffic regulation.
According to Ibirogba who said motorists had hitherto been “at the mercy of LASTMA,” the law has relieved LASTMA of its hitherto powers to define punishment for erring drivers, adding that it is now the exclusive preserve of the court to spell out punishment due to an offender.
He said the law had only sought to put issues in their proper perspectives because it has not only identified who has the power to “determine who to be punished,” but has also defined the specifics, asking: “How trained are police and LASTMA to determine punishment?”
He said it was worrisome that people criticise the law, restating that it is only an update of the 1949 law, into which relevant things have been incorporated as he explained that when the amended law was first made, there were no mobile phones neither were there commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada at the time.
He said if the law is popularly complied with, it will save much of the time being wasted in traffic, curtail traffic robbery and as well help to avert avoidable death resulting from driving against the traffic.
He said people complain against the law because Nigerians are highly resistant to the principle of change.
“Those complaining are those who have chosen to do the wrong things. And it is because our system has been bastardised. People look at issues from negative perspectives. That people are frustrated is not a reason we should not make new laws. Society doesn’t get developed in one day,” Ibirogba said.