Saturday, August 11, 2012

Death warrant for LASTMA officials?

LASTMA GM, Babatunde Edu. Credit: Thisdaylive
An official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) unfortunately lost his life yesterday while trying to apprehend a one-way traffic violator at Ajah in Lagos.

We may have started paying the cost of that controversial law prescribing jail term for one-way traffic violators in Lagos.

On July 18, I uploaded a blog criticising the one-way violation clause, drawing the attention of the authorities to the ‘cost of enforcement beyond naira and kobo". This is what I was alluding to.

We have no way of knowing who drove the offending car until a thorough investigation is carried out. Eye witnesses have taken to the new media to offer accounts that are different from the version circulated by LASTMA.

But the fact remains that a one-way traffic violator has run over a LASTMA official barely one week into the signing of the controversial law by Governor Babatunde Fashola.

LASTMA claims it was a female banker and mother of a three month-old, Yinka Johnson, that ran over the traffic official, Mr. Hameed Balogun, when he accosted her for contravening the one-way traffic law at Mega City, Ajah.

The General Manager, LASTMA, Mr. Babatunde Edu, said after hitting the 33-year-old LASTMA official, Johnson ran into Ikota Estate, Ajah, where security guards prevented LASTMA officials from arresting her.

 “The driver, whose identity was revealed by the Auto Inspector device as Yinka Johnson, an employee of IBTC, drove in a green LandRover Jeep with registration number CY 276 LSD against traffic from Mega Chicken inward toll plaza two.

 “She was intercepted by three officials of LASTMA led by the Head of Operations, Mr. Quayum Asafa, for traffic violation. Johnson started driving recklessly in order to escape and in the process ran over the officer,” Edu said.

This is an unfortunate incident and it gives me no pleasure to say that I warned the authorities about it. But the sad reality is that this sort of things will happen more. It is only common sense.

If LASTMA officials encountered occasional desperate one-way violators when the penalty was a fine, they will encounter more desperate motorists now that the penalty is a jail term without an option of fine. One would have thought this was so basic that no one would need to belabour the point.

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