Friday, August 03, 2012

Fashola signs road traffic bill into law

As predicted, Governor Fashola has signed the Lagos Traffic Bill into law, with only minor modifications. One-way traffic violation will now earn offenders one year in jail, as against three years recommended by the State House of Assembly. Repeated offence attracts three years imprisonment.

Any motorcyclist, who carries a pregnant woman, a child below the age of 12 or an adult carrying load on his or her head now risks three years imprisonment with community service and forfeiture of the bike. The passengers on such motorcycles will also be prosecuted.

Motocyclists (Okada riders) have been barred from plying Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, Apapa–Oshodi Expressway, Ikorodu Road, Agege Motor Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Eko Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, Carter Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Victoria Island-Lekki-Epe Expressway and all bridges not earlier mentioned.
According to Nigerian Tribune, other offences that attract stiff penalties, as contained in the new traffic laws of Lagos, include driving on BRT lane; parking within 15 metres of road intersection; using siren and other noisy devices in a vehicle; failure to wear prescribed uniform or identification tag by drivers or conductors; driving or being driven on unauthorised routes and herding cattle, sheep, goats or other animals on the road.

Other areas taken care of by the new law include driving unregistered, unlicensed vehicle or vehicle without valid identification mark, an offence which attracts a penalty of N20,000 for a first offender and N30,000 or three years imprisonment or both for repeated offences.

The law also bars articulated vehicles from entering or travelling within the Lagos metropolis between 6.00 a.m and 9.00 p.m, although fuel trucks and long passenger vehicles are exempted. Any driver who contravenes the law will have his vehicle impounded and pay N50,000 fine or be imprisoned for six months.

According to the law, it is an offence to sell alcoholic drinks, herbal or pharmaceutical drugs within 100 metres of a bus stop, terminus or motor park; hawk, vend or offer for sale any item of goods or services, or beg or solicit for alms or engage in cleaning windscreens or any part of a vehicle on the highway or bridge.

Other offences include displaying of wares on walkways, dropping or picking of passengers on fast lanes or undesignated bus-stop by commercial vehicles.

Fashola assured the people that the law would be friendly to law-abiding citizens and allayed the fear of those who might see it as being too stringent

He reiterated that as long as there is the constitutional provision that states that nobody will go to jail without undergoing a fair trial. Everyone has a right to defend himself with a lawyer of his choice, he was sure that judges and magistrates would ensure that justice was done.

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