By Okunade Adekunle
Lagos State House of Assembly is making moves to harmonise the traffic laws of the state by amending the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform (Amendment) Laws 2018.
In order to achieve this, the House Committee On Transportation held a day public hearing on Wednesday at the Assembly Complex, Alausa, Ikeja, where inputs into the Bill from the stakeholders were entertained.
The bills are entitled; ‘A Law to Amend the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018;’ and ‘A Law to provide for the Regulation of Traffic on All Highways, Roads and Streets in Lagos State and for Other Connected Purposes; and ‘A Bill for a Law to Establish the Lagos Ferry Services Corporation and for Connected Purposes.’
In a keynote address, the Speaker of the House, Rt ( Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni said not less than 1.6 million vehicles ply Lagos roads on a daily basis, saying that it has overstretched the infrastructure in the state.
Obasa stressed that one of the ways of addressing the traffic challenges in the state is the introduction of LAGFERRY, which according to him would take off up to 30 per cent of commuters on the highways.
He explained that with the reform being put in place, the House is to “remain a dependable partner” with the executive.
In his comments, the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Hon Temitope Adewale said, “the Law seeks to review the process and introduce reforms to the laws passed in 2018 that were previously separated.
Adewale added that the consolidated laws were not users friendly, saying that this necessitated the need to review and bring them to present-day realities.
Overviewing of the Bill, the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said, “The purpose of the bill is for ease of enforcement of penalties for road users. Transport is more important than road traffic, but we want to talk more about traffic in the state. We must be able to manage traffic to save manpower.”
Agunbiade added “Traffic Bill has 33 sections and it talks more about how drivers should operate. It creates provision for a third party liability, which is the owner. It emphasises traffic, owners and operators of any type of vehicle in the state.
“It also talks about carelessness or reckless driving. It provides for the custodian and non-custodial penalties of offenders.
“It also covers all forms of recklessness on the road and restricts the use of siren to law enforcement agents.
“It would not be business as usual on our roads and offenders would be arrested without a warrant. If you drive negligibly on the road, report yourself to the police, if you don’t do that and you run away it is an offence.
A representative of Petroleum Marketing companies, Mr Olufemi Adebayo, said, “There is a challenge in restricting petroleum tankers from moving in the daytime.
Bamidele Topeola, Director of Legal Services, Ministry of Transportation observed that “appointment of the General Manager of the Agency should not be a concurrence. It will make for easy implementation of the law if the Governor is given the free rein to appoint.”
The Chairman of NATO in Lagos State, Alhaji Kayode Okunnowo said, “The issue of restricting the movement of trailers came up in 2018 and you cannot load containers at night.”
However, the stakeholders cautioned on the inclusions of some provisions, advising the House to make realistic laws that address the state’s peculiarities.