It is no longer news that the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, has inaugurated mobile courts in the state to summarily try traffic offenders and mete immediate punishments to them where applicable.
With the mobile courts, which would move around in buses, Atilade said the end had come to “the era of recklessness and impunity on our public roads and highways.”
The Chief Judge regretted that until now unruly road users, who daily cut the lives of innocent citizens short and caused traffic snarl leading to wastage of productive hours on the roads, had gone unpunished.
She, however, said the situation, which she described as unacceptable, would no longer go unpunished as the mobile courts signified the determination “to fully enforce the extant traffic laws in the state and take stiffer measures against road traffic offenders.”
Atilade said, “Those who chose to make life difficult for other people, especially on our roads, should have a re-think, as they would henceforth be held accountable for their deeds.
“Flagrant disregard or violation of traffic rules with impunity is unacceptable and as such, must be discouraged and condemned by all.”
The Chief Judge said the initiative was targeted at curbing the excesses of “those to whom the laws of the land are of no value.”
She said, “You see them break traffic rules at will and cause needless traffic snag on our roads. They also, most often, drove against traffic and beat the traffic lights, destroy traffic furniture and infrastructure, drive across the road median and through their lawlessness and irresponsible actions, daily inflict pains, grieve and sorrow on fellow citizens.
“Businesses are impeded, as several productive hours are unnecessarily lost in traffic, mostly due to acts of indiscipline by few recalcitrant and obstinate drivers and road users, who are laws unto themselves. As we speak, many have been sent to early graves, while several others are either maimed or lying critically ill in the hospital.”
Justice Atilade, who lamented the death of a 25-year-old British Nigerian graduate, Doyin Fagbenro, who was killed by a reckless commercial bus driver about three weeks ago in Lekki-Ajah area of Lagos, said the story of the victim was just one of the many deaths occurring as a result of reckless driving and indiscipline.
She said, “This must not be allowed to continue. Let it be known to all that the era of recklessness and impunity on our public roads and highways in Lagos State is gone.”
The special Offences court was established in 1994 to try essentially environmental Offences and it has been vested with powers to sit in any convenient place close to the scene of commission of any offence triable by it.
Though summary in nature, the proceedings before the Mobile Court will be operated in according with rules of natural justice and fair hearing.
There will be lawyers from the office of the Public Defender for any defendant who so desires to be defended, while defendants can also appoint any lawyer of their choice to defend them.
Now here are 18 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW DRIVING ON LAGOS ROADS
1. Driving in a direction prohibited by the Road Traffic Law; (that is driving against traffic, popularly known as “One Way” driving) now attracts a 3-year jail term, while a first offender gets one year term and the vehicle forfeited to the state government.
2. Bullion vans are not exempted from the law as any bullion van driven in a direction prohibited by the Road Traffic Law will be forfeited, while abandoned vehicle on Highway will be fined N50,000.00 or three years imprisonment, or both fine and imprisonment.
3. Riding a motor-cycle against traffic and riding on the kerb, median or road setbacks will attract N20,000.00 for 1st time offenders, while subsequent offenders will get N30,000.00 (thirty-thousand Naira) fine or the riders’ motor-cycle will be impounded.
4. Smoking while driving will attract N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
5. Failure to give way to traffic on the left at a roundabout attracts N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
6. Disobeying traffic control is N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira)
7. Motorcycles and Tricycles are prohibited from riding on major Highways in the state. The Highways are Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki – Ikorodu, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Babangida Boulevard Way. Others are Lekki-Epe Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa-Lekki coastal road.
8. Violation of route by commercial vehicles will attract N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira)
9. Riding motor-cycle without Crash Helmet for rider and passenger will attract N20, 000.00 (twenty thousand Naira) or 3 years imprisonment or both.
10. Prohibits under-aged person, under 18 years old from riding a motorcycle and the fine for this is N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
11. Operating a motor-cycle in a restricted area on or prohibited route will attract a fine of N20,000.00 (twenty thousand or his motor-cycle will be impounded.
12. Any person driving without a valid Driving License will have his/her vehicle impounded. Learner drivers without permit will attract a fine of N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira) while driving with fake number plate will attract N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira) for 1st offenders and 6 months imprisonment or both for subsequent infractions.
13. Medical Emergency Vehicles can drive through traffic
14. Motorcyclists who drive against traffic and refused to obey traffic signs like zebra crossing and traffic light indication, would no longer find it easy to get away with commission of such crimes in the state.
15. Commercial bus drivers popularly known as Danfo Drivers on motion with their doors open thereby endangering lives of those of their passengers and other road users, would equally be prosecuted before the Mobile Court,
16. Anyone crossing the highway where pedestrian bridges are provided, would equally face trial.
17. Henceforth driving on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes of non-designated vehicles by anyone including military personnel, would attract prosecution before the Mobile Court.
18. People who park at undesignated places and indulging in noise pollution and street trading among others, would also be prosecuted by the court.
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