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Fashola signs roads traffic bill.Violate and go to jail

HIGHLIGHTS

Driving against traffic     – One year imprisonment (1st offender)
– 3 years imprisonment (repeated offender)

Carrying pregnant  woman on okada   – 3 years imprisonment

Carrying a child below age 12 (on okada)  – 3 years in jail

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

Also, driving against traffic now attracts one-year imprisonment for a first offender and three years for subsequent cases, while okada riders has 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.

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 sirens 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.

Signing the bill into law, the state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the new traffic law would make the citizens live better, as it would make the roads safer, improve life expectancy and solve environmental, public health and safety issues.

“Many things in our lives will be improved, such as cost of food, life expectancy, health and so many. I believe that if we succeed with this law, our state will change for the better,” he said.

The law, he said, became necessary to bring back decency in the people, adding that “different people come into Lagos and we see them openly urinating and defecating on the road and this must stop.”

He warned those hanging clothes to dry on highways and bus stops to desist, adding that traffic and sanitation officers would enforce the sanitation laws.

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

“For those who have expressed concern about the new law, the law is a dormant piece of paper which will not just jump on an innocent motorist in his vehicle, neither will it come into his house looking for him,  rather,  it is the man that always goes looking for the law,” he said.

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

Fashola added “we have to live by some rules, rules that have worked in other dispensations, rules that we obey when we go there. It is time to really show commitment for the place that we really call home. Most of the rules read out by the Attorney-General of the state are not unique to Lagos; they are rules that operate in many cities by whose standard this state is being measured.

“They are rules that affect application of breathalyzers on drivers, driving against traffic, and trading on the road. Clearly, we have been to many of these cities and we complied. Why is it difficult to comply at home?”

 






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