The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has clarified its stance on the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos that fines imposed on motorists by the Agency are illegal.
Reacting to the judgment, the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Olawale Musa explained that LASTMA does not and will never commit any illegality in violation of the Law while discharging its duties.
Musa maintained that LASTMA as a law-abiding institution had always complied with the ruling delivered by the Federal High Court on September 16, 2011, in Suit No FHC/L/CS/653/2011, by issuing offenders a referral notice for appearance in Court, stating the specified fines and penalties.
The General Manager further stressed that “No LASTMA official has the power to impose fine on any traffic offender without recourse to the court which then pronounces judgment on the matter”.
He hinted that some motorists, who accepted guilt for their offence and were apprehensive of facing court action, on their own volition opted to pay the stipulated fines to avoid penalties that could result from further inspection of their vehicles.
He assured members of the public that LASTMA remains fair but firm in its responsibilities of traffic management and compliance, saying “we will not condone any illegality in our operations in any way, but rather intensify our efforts at ensuring compliance as well as safe and free-flow of traffic by the commuting public on every road in Lagos State”.
While assuring the residents of effective and efficient traffic management, he enjoined all Lagosians to cooperate with LASTMA officials in order to ensure that traffic gridlock is reduced to the barest minimum by obeying traffic rules and regulations, especially during the upcoming festive period.
Recall that the recent judgment resulted from the appeal to an earlier ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang declaring the arrest, seizure and continuous detention of an applicant, Mr. Jonathan Odutola’s pick-up van (BE 736 KSF) by LASTMA in March 2011 as unlawful, illegal and a breach of his fundamental right to human dignity as guaranteed by Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution.