Ambush traffic management

Some friends said they couldn’t believe it when another friend, who is a co-presenter of a morning TV show, said he didn’t know when he ran into a BRT lane after being (poorly) driven by other motorists and his Google Street Finder.

They were, however, impressed that the gentleman apologized in a mature and noble manner to the people of Nigeria as well as the viewers of the highly successful morning show he co-hosts.

Incidentally, another friend encountered the same problem – a BRT track with already fading markings – after passing the Iddo slip road, next to the Iddo railway terminus, just behind the old Electricity power station Corporation of Nigeria, to reach the Eko Bridge via “Ijora”. Olopa.

The neglect of the Lagos State Department of Public Works to ensure the legibility of the yellow lines of the dedicated BRT lanes by constantly repainting them and also providing appropriate traffic signs to alert drivers that they were approaching a BRT lane, by the bend, can only be explained as an intention to ambush the drivers.

All the driver’s explanations that even if a driver knew they were approaching a BRT lane on the far right of the bridge, it would definitely lead to an accident if they insisted on driving straight into the lanes of the bridge. medium without precaution, fell on deaf ears.

The road was clear of traffic and the vehicles were moving rather fast. It is strange that the police and LASTMA officials were not interested in any explanation. They seemed only determined to nail anyone, at all costs.

One of the officers kept asking for a N70,000 fine to be paid into the Lagos State government coffers if anyone was careless enough to allow his vehicle to be picked up, at the instead of just “setting up the boys” on the road.

The Yoruba often say that it should be enough for a law enforcement officer to arrest an offender and that it should not be necessary for the officer to add now, as if he were the judge, that the offender will rot in prison.

It was an enlightening, but humiliating and frightening experience, especially with the drama, the harassment and the officers’ attempts to place a spiked rod right in front of the vehicle’s tires.

This was a classic example of what some cynics call the rule of law, whereby state actors deliberately and arrogantly use the law to oppress, even suppress, the people they were elected or appointed to protect. .

Traffic cops will look for something else, to extort money from a driver, after discovering that a vehicle’s documentation is complete, correct and up-to-date. The other day a traffic cop was telling his friend how lucrative it is to be a traffic cop especially in Lagos State.

The traffic cop was selling the job to his friend, who was probably unemployed and looking for a job. He told her that if he became a traffic policeman, he would always go home with a reasonable amount of money (bribe) at the end of each day. It’s a classic example of someone eating the bread of pain.

Even America, which is almost considered a utopia compared to a place like Nigeria, has its own share of this official authoritarianism. County police deputy Zachary Wester allegedly put a number of his countrymen in jail by surreptitiously placing narcotics in their cars. He did this several times in order to quickly gain promotion and recognition as a good cop.

Perhaps you have seen the footage of Nigerian Prison and Police officers as they brutalize Uduak Akpan, who was sentenced to death by hanging for raping, killing and burying Iniubong Umoren, a young woman he lured with the promise of a job.

While an attempt by Akpan to flee after the judge handed down the death sentence may have resulted in police and correctional facility officers brutalizing him, it’s a little hard to ignore the fact, as the TV co-presenter alleged, that traffic cops pointed a gun at him.

A senior Lagos State government official, who is of Igbo descent, but who will remain anonymous for this purpose, allegedly claimed that LASTMA officials once manhandled and killed his nephew who was driving a commuter vehicle.

The report adds that it took the benevolent intervention of a former Governor of Lagos State before the matter could be settled. There is no doubt that many traffic cops are drunk on power and have no constraints or limits on what they could do to make the lives of their fellow citizens miserable.

Rule of law is when officers of the court try to educate you on the provisions and purposes of the law and are civil and cordial in enforcing the rules if and when you break them. Moreover, it is expected that after being made aware of the law, you too will avoid going against it.

If you do, you will be prepared to accept the consequences, not least because you recognize that the law is not arbitrary and will not vary in severity and scope regardless of who is held accountable for its provisions.

This must have led to the TV co-presenter’s decision to appear in court the next day, plead, pay the N70,000 fine and publicly admit his wrongdoing and publicly apologize on the show. live television.

His understanding of the rule of law may have convinced him that it would have been a violation of due process if he had kept his promise to the officers who intercepted him that he would report them to the governor, which who, presumably, is Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

No individual, on a personal basis, can or should have a right of veto to overturn the letter, the spirit and the will of the law. Certainly, no individual, unless he has a justification for using such discretionary powers, should overrule the law or the decision of a court or legally constituted government agency.

That is to say that the law must always be applied. If it is necessary to throw the law books at an offender, as the Americans would say, by all means, it should be done without unnecessary hesitation or forgiveness.

But then the dignity and humanity of the offender must be maintained while the law is allowed to take its course. American and British police would kill a suspect with respect and courtesy – “sorry sir”, “this way sir” – as they escorted him into the patrol vehicle and finally into the cell.

Nigerians must not go back to the days of the military head of state, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired), and his deputy, the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon, who used the war against the indiscipline to encourage the flogging of terrified civilians in order to maintain order.

In addition, the government should erect street furniture, which bears direction signs and instructions, so that drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are properly guided while traveling through the city.

The traffic laws should not be used as a tool to oppress Nigerians.

Twitter: @lekansote1

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