The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has frowned at what he described as incessant attacks on officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority by traffic offenders.
Mr Ambode, who spoke with journalists after a meeting with the LASTMA leadership and heads of other security agencies in Lagos Sunday, said henceforth all relevant security agencies would strictly enforce the provisions of the state traffic laws to bring about sanity on the roads.
He also ordered the state Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice to immediately increase the number of mobile courts in the state to 20 to summarily prosecute traffic offenders to serve as deterrent to others who might want to indulge in the violation of traffic laws.
“Just last week, we lost one of our LASTMA officers in the person of Rotimi Adeyemo who met his untimely death while controlling traffic,” the governor said.
“So, I have come here on behalf of government to commiserate with all the LASTMA officers in their office. Now, I want Lagosians to understand something and that is as at today, we have lost 18 LASTMA officers while performing their lawful duty on behalf of the state, and another 24 are permanently incapacitated in various hospitals just this year alone as I speak.
“We have not been churning out this data just because we believe Lagosians will understand that these men and women that we put on the line of duty are harmless and they don’t have anything to protect them than just traffic laws which they are enforcing.”
Mr Ambode said the government would not fold its arms and allow the violation of the laws, hence the decision to order enforcement of the laws with immediate effect.
“For Lagosians, it is very clear that government will not continue to fold their arms and allow our officers to continue to be in areas of danger,” have said.
“First, I will appeal to all of you that we must obey traffic laws. Secondly, we cannot turn this state into a state of lawlessness. So, from this moment onward, all our security agencies and also all the officers that are concerned have been directed to discipline any traffic offender that is arrested.
“Government will go down and deal squarely with any traffic offender from this moment onward. We cannot allow people to continue to commit offences for which we need to discipline for.
“We don’t want people to take advantage and say this is Christmas or election period, we have majority of our people to protect and we have the majority of our people to also make sure that they use the roads safely. So, we will not allow traffic offenders to go scot-free anymore.”
The governor added that aside the mobile court, police officers have also been increased to patrol the nooks and crannies of the state to ensure security and free-flow of traffic.
Mr Ambode announced a N10 million donation to the family of the deceased LASTMA official.
“This is a sober moment for us but again I need to encourage and further appeal to all our law enforcement officers, most especially LASTMA officers that this government is with them and we would do everything to protect their lives and also create an atmosphere to allow them to do their work properly.”
Edgal Imohimi, the commissioner of police, said the synergy between the security agencies and traffic officers would be intensified to ensure that they are safe and they work longer periods.
Among those who attended the meeting are heads of all security agencies, members of the State Executive Council, CEO of LASTMA, Chris Olakpe; General Manager of the agency, Olawale Musa; Chairman, Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Israel Ajao; Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Hyginus Omeje; State Commander, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, Tajudeen Balogun among others.