Fashola: Keeping Lagos Traffic Moving is Primary Responsibility of LASTMA






Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday attended the
induction of new Special Traffic Mayors and interactive session with Lagos
State Traffic Management Authority personnel, stressing that the primary
responsibility of the operatives of the agency is to keep traffic moving.
The Governor who spoke at the Blueroof Hall, LTV Complex, Agidingbi before a
gathering of professionals and respectable members of the society who
constitute the volunteers as Special Traffic Mayors  and LASTMA officials
added that the priority is not about arresting those who violate traffic
laws but to keep the traffic moving.
He emphasised that if any LASTMA official realises that in the process of
arresting a traffic offender, there is every likelihood of creating more
traffic bottleneck such a traffic offender should be let go.
He reminded that if traffic is kept moving, the quality of life of the
average citizen would improve as less hours would be spent in traffic and
more money saved by the motorists and commuters on the roads.
Noting that it was impossible for him and other senior government officials
to be everywhere, Governor Fashola said every LASTMA official on the road
should help generate much needed information on the state of the roads,
especially those in need of repairs by regularly sending reports that would
assist the government in ensuring that such roads are quickly repaired.
He explained that the Lagos State Government has boosted its capacity for
such repairs by not only establishing an agency for road rehabilitation, it
has also commenced the putting in place of an asphalt plant in Ikorodu and
Badagry in addition to the one in Ojodu. He explained that the relaunch of
the Special Traffic Mayor is about the genuine desire of the State
Government to get a volunteer Corps to provide solution to an everyday
problem by assisting in keeping traffic moving at all times.
The Governor, who also spoke against the backdrop of reported incidents of
fatal auto accidents in some parts of the state, stressed that it is
pertinent for people to realize that vehicles don’t drive themselves and do
not cause accidents but are propelled by people who drive them.
On concerns raised by some people about increased human and vehicular
movements in the past few days, the Governor reminded the gathering that it
is already the middle of November and several contracts for rice supplies,
turkeys, groundnut oil and hampers have been awarded for the Christmas
period which have to be executed.
He also explained that the State Government is currently constructing over
200 inner city roads round the state, some of which are in various stages of
completion and have resulted in some forms of traffic bottlenecks as well at
this period.
He said the underlining factor is that the people must realize that the road
is a resource that everyone is always trying to make use of at the same time
urging people to consider the possibility that the task necessitating a trip
on the road could be carried out through phone calls or text messages.
The State Governor gave a commitment that the State would continue to expend
its resources on training of LASTMA staffers as it has done in the past,
adding that the operatives have just concluded an intensive training
programme to position them for better service.
He said the new trainees would upon graduation be moved to the public
service employment scheme that comes with pensions, adding that they can
indeed enjoy a clear career in law enforcement cadre in the State public
service He described the reported case of an operative of LASTMA who was
caught on tape by a member of the public, soliciting for inducement as that
of a bad egg that does not represent the true face of LASTMA, adding that a
manhunt is on for the runaway official who would be made to face the law for
his act.
The State helmsman stated that the implementation of the Road Traffic Law in
the State has brought successes noting that the 646 accidents recorded by
August 2012 had dipped to 111 by August this year.
He added that deaths on commercial motorcycles which stood at 15 monthly
has reduced to one per month while between the period of August to October
this year, no death was recorded on okadas in the state.
While noting that the safer roads has encouraged leisure activities like
cycling, the Governor also warned those who have formed the habit of skating
on highways to desist from doing so as henceforth such people would now be
arrested and prosecuted because the act forms an infraction of the State
Traffic Law.
He said young people who are interested in skating should go to stadiums and
amusement parks to exhibit their skills and not on the major highways.
Governor Fashola also reiterated his appeal to all residents of the State to
ensure that they come forward and register with the State Residents
Registration Agency which is about the resolve of the government to plan for
better services provision utilising the number of people resident in Lagos.
He reiterated that by the beginning of December, some residents of the State
who intend to enjoy some essential services may be compelled to provide
their residents registration numbers before they can enjoy same.
Responding to questions by members of the public during the interactive
session, Governor Fashola said the primary responsibility of Government in
the Transport sector was to provide the infrastructure that would enable
private individuals to run the sector efficiently pointing out that all over
the world, governments have not been efficient in running the industry.
“The truth is that in the area of public transportation, government has not
been efficient in the operator capacity. In running buses, in running
ferries, government has not been efficient, not only in Nigeria but in other
parts of the world”, the Governor said.
According to him, “The efficiency of government has always been in provision
of infrastructure, ferry terminals, jetties, and roads and so on which is
what we are doing in Lagos. We are shifting our efficiency where we have
comparative advantage. Bus and ferry operators cannot afford that”.
Citing the attempts by former Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande,
to run a ferry service during his time, the Governor recalled that ferries
that were provided by Alhaji Jakande were all misused adding, “We recovered
five of them in the lagoon and we are refitting them now for use. But if
those boats were to belong to a private company, I am sure they would not
have been abandoned in the lagoon”.
On the position of the Government concerning road development in FESTAC
Town, Governor Fashola explained that the State Government was having an
issue with its Federal counterpart pointing out that the taxes and land
charges being collected by the Federal Housing Authority were being sent to
Abuja.
“I have said that the Federal Housing Authority is an anathema to the
current Constitution. The Federal Government does not own land so I don’t
see how it can have a Housing Authority. But it was created during the
Military and now that we are in a civilian dispensation, as I made a case on
Saturday when we were in Sokoto, this is one of the laws that the National
Assembly should simply amend or repeal to bring them in conformity with the
current dispensation”, he said.
The Governor, however, said in spite of the situation, the State
Government’s impact could still be felt in Amuwo Odofin, Okota and Ago
Palace Way adding, “These are all roads that lead into FESTAC Town.
Noting that FESTAC Town would also feel Government’s impact in the
Lagos-Badagry Expressway as the project was being pursued vigorously so that
the highway would be finished in time to enable residents have smooth rides
from their homes to their offices and businesses and so that their children
could go to school and back, the Governor noted that the inner city roads
would mean nothing to the people if after taking off smoothly from their
houses and on the highways they could not get to work.
Responding to a question on the apparent delay in the completion of roads in
Ayobo, Ipaja and Aiyetoro, Governor Fashola explained, “There is nothing
wrong with them. These are logistic problems. The same contractor has worked
on roads in Alimosho and has done a good job. All your roundabouts around
Ipaja, around Alimosho, it is the same contractor that we used”. “But this
time we are going into much more sensitive areas where you have NNPC
pipelines. Now about contractor not being at site, construction method has
changed. Contractors no longer come to the site to mix concrete and all
that. They now work off site and later bring the materials in for fixing”,
he further explained.
Appealing to residents of the area to bear with the Government, Governor
Fashola recalled the pipeline explosion in Alimosho in 2009 as a result of a
caterpillar causing rupture in an NNPC pipeline which resulted in loss of
some lives, adding, “That loss of life was an extreme lesson for us. But now
they do not excavate because you don’t know how deep the NNPC pipe was laid.
We cannot build a road at the expense of other people’s lives. But the
contracts are there, the equipment is there”.
The Governor urged residents to report bad roads to the Public Works
Corporation pointing out that the State now has asphalt factory where
bitumen is produced. He said I is the responsibility of citizen and LASTMA
to draw attention iof the Public Works Corporation to any bad roads where
they stay to enable repairs to be effected.
Hinting of a parking policy being put together by the State Government,
Governor Fashola, who said it has taken his administration about three years
to put the policy together, assured that when it is introduced, all the
problems associated with parking anywhere in the State would be solved.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Transport, Hon Kayode Opeifa said the
relaunch is about reinvigorating the Special Traffic Mayor to assist LASTMA
officials in moving traffic and also giving a feedback to the State
Government on happenings on the road.
He added that the Special Traffic Mayors would still perform the same
function as regular LASTMA officials but cannot issue fines tickets or
arrest offending motorists.
The chairman of the STF coordinators, Chief Segun Badejo gave a commitment
of the readiness of all the coordinators to continue as they have done in
the past five years since the scheme was first established to keep traffic
moving in Lagos at all times.
Awards of excellence were also presented to five of the STF coordinators in
various zones for distinguishing themselves in service and included Chief
Segun Badejo, Captain Ogunleye Adedayo, Chief P.K Shat, Mrs Omolara Vaughan
and Mrs Elizabeth Omidele while the Governor also decorated the new Special
Mayors including the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs)  Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire,
the Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Ranti Adebule and some
members of the State Executive Council.
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