Transport sector: Lagos amends law, tackle traffic gridlock, tightens noose on defaulters

September 30, 2020
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Traffic gridlock which is fast becoming a common decimal in Lagos state may likely reduce to barest minimum if the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform (Amendment) Laws 2018 sees the light of the day.

As the State Legislature in concurrence with the executive sets machinery in place to tackle the menace headlong.

This forms the thrust of a day public hearing organized on Wednesday 30 September at the Assembly Pavilion, where stakeholders faulted some of the provisions of the Bill.

The bills are entitled; ‘A law to Amend the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018;’ and ‘A Law to provide for the Regulation of Traffic on All Highways, Roads and Streets in Lagos State and for Other Connected Purposes; and ‘A Bill for a Law to Establish the Lagos Ferry Services Corporation and for Connected Purposes.’

Giving the overview of the Bill, the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said, “The purpose of the bill is for ease of enforcement of penalties for road users. Transport is more important than road traffic, but we want to talk more about traffic in the state. We must be able to manage traffic to save manpower.”

He added that the, “Traffic Bill has 33 sections and it talks more about how drivers should operate. It creates provision for a third party liability, which is the owner. It emphasises traffic, owners and operators of any type of vehicle in the state.

“It also talks about carelessness or reckless driving. It provides for custodian and non-custodian penalties of offenders.

“It also covers all forms of recklessness on the road and restricts the use of siren to law enforcement agents.

“It would not be business as usual on our roads and offenders would be arrested without warrant. If  you drive negligibly on the road, report yourself to the police, if you don’t do that and you run away it is an offence.

In a keynote address, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni who represented the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said that not less than 1.6 million vehicles ply Lagos roads on a daily basis, saying that this has overstretched the infrastructure in the state.”

He added that one of the ways of addressing the traffic challenges in the state is the introduction of LAGFERRY, which according to him would take off up to 30 percent of commuters on the highways.

He explained that with the reform being put in place, the House is to “remain a dependable partner” with the executive.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Hon Temitope Adewale said that “the Law seeks to review the process and introduce reforms to the laws passed in 2018 that were previously separated.

He added that the consolidated laws were not users friendly, saying that this necessitated the need to review and bring them to present day realities.

The stakeholders however cautioned on the inclusions of some provisions, stating that the House should make realistic laws that address the state’s peculiarities.

A representative of Petroleum Marketing companies, Mr Olufemi Adebayo pointed out that “There is a challenge in restricting petroleum tankers from moving in the day time.

Bamidele Topeola, Director Legal Services, Ministry of Transportation observed that “appointment of the General Manager of the Agency should not be a concurrence. It will make for easy implementation of the law if the Governor is given the free rein to appoint.”

The Chairman of NATO in Lagos State, Alhaji Kayode Okunnowo said, “The issue of restricting the movement of trailers came up in 2018 and you cannot load containers at night.”

Similarly, Alhaji Ayinde Owoku reiterated that “A lot of emphasis are placed on laws that have been existing for many years and that implementation has always been the problem.

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