Lagosians should be happy we are blessed with legislators who are actively making laws to better our lives; the latest is the traffic laws which I am yet to be sure if it will make our roads safer, as the enforcer of these laws are more inclined to breaking the laws than Lagosians.
My concern today is not the way the police, military and paramilitary vehicles break at will the existing traffic laws thereby, exposing other road users to danger, I am rather apprehensive at the consequences of the newest Lagos traffic laws. Not only am I alarmed at the punishments these traffic offence attracts, I am also concerned apropos the fines—for instance, driving against traffic popularly known as one-way may fetch the offender a three year jail term!
Apart from the truth that the fines are not commensurate with the minimum wage, it scares me to hell that it will serve as a means for the enforcers to double their usual backhander; the threat used to be that the offender will have to go for a psychiatric evaluation and blah blah blabs or pay a bribe of whatever amount the traffic police fathoms out. However, the threat has now been made juicer as some of these offences attract fines as much as Fifty Thousand Naira and or incarceration; consequently, the kolas have got to be bigger!
Let’s imagine a possible case of an offender getting sentenced for a year or so; God forbid, God forbid not because prisons are not meant for humans but because Nigerian prisons are not! I have seen all the prisons in Lagos state and some other states, my brothers and sisters you don’t ever want to spend a day in there! These prisons are over-crowded and most of them are at the most deplorable state any facility can get and so are our police cells. I wouldn’t know if honourable governor is willing to build new prisons for traffic offenders.
That said, there is this part about smoking and driving which still amazes me as I am yet to know how smoking affects driving. Drinking alcohol definitely impairs judgement and therefore makes a lot of sense to be the number one traffic offence, but it evades my thinking how and when smoking cigarettes, eating gala or biscuits and drinking Coca Cola becomes a threat to other road users so I went online and discovered that since 2007, smoking drivers in the UK may be arrested if it is thought they are driving with imprudence and negligence. And I rest my case!
And concluded that we needed more than traffic laws to make our roads safer, we need enforcers that are willing to do extra to make road users obey these laws than watch them break it and run after them to catch them for whatever carrot they can squeeze out of the offenders’ pocket.
Lest I forget, kudos to the Lagos state government for addressing decisively the agbero plague; we must all not forget that chasing them off the roads will have a resultant effect somewhere else. So be wise and be more security aware as these boys will definitely start a new craft that is if they have not started yet.
Eko o ni baje o!
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