New Road Traffic Law will improve life expectancy, says Lagos Government

The new Lagos law, among other things, recommends N30,000 fine for drivers who eat while driving.

Ben Ezeamalu

The newly promulgated Lagos State Road Traffic Law will improve the life expectancy of drivers on the ever busy Lagos roads, the Lagos State Government has said.

Ade Ipaye, the State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, disclosed this in Lagos, Friday, at the occasion of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s 1,900 days in office.

The law, which recommends a jail term, or N30,000, as fine for drivers caught eating in traffic; as well as mandating commercial bus drivers and their conductors to wear identification tags, continues to generate mixed reactions from the public.

“There is nothing new about the law but to tell us what we should be doing,” Mr. Ipaye, who represented the state governor, said.

“It would help regulate the way we live and to point out what should be the standard of behaviour,” he added.

Taking the audience through a lengthy list of achievements of the state governor in the past one year, Mr. Ipaye stated that a lot of people expressed reservations in some of their projects, especially the beautification works at the Apapa area.

“We focused a lot on Apapa because we are trying to change the face of that location,” the commissioner said. “It has so much potential, but over the years, activities there have driven people away. We are cleaning it up.”

Among the achievements the state government listed include reducing traffic gridlock across the state by 70 percent; procurement of 120,000 furniture to public schools; recruitment of 2,051 teachers; implementation of Indoor Residual Spraying (to combat malaria) in 21,216 households and 86,303 rooms; managing various ailments for 10,775 children in public schools; and enumeration of more than 43,000 farmers; amongst others.

The LASU fees hike

During a short interactive session, a question about the “inconsiderate” hike in fees at the Lagos State University (LASU) drew applause from the audience.

Responding, Mr. Ipaye said that the move was necessary to improve the institution’s “glorified secondary school” status.

“The increase was necessary if at all we want to have a university worthy of its name,” Mr. Ipaye said. “The business of building and maintaining a university is a serious one. That is why Nigerian universities are not ranked in the world.

“The fact is that all over the world, there is no where you can have university education for N50,000 or N100,000. It is not possible,” he added.

Mr. Ipaye further stated that the state government has reviewed upward, scholarships and bursaries to students, to cushion the impact.

“The Lagos State is not rich enough to have free education or have it subsidized to the level you want,” Mr. Ipaye said.

“The new fee is not enough to maintain a university, government is still subsidizing,” he added.

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