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We left Lagos roads due to #EndSARS violence, says LASTMA boss

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The General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Olajide Oduyoye, yesterday explained why his men have been absent from the roads, leading to a near chaotic traffic situation across Lagos State.

Oduyoye stated that due to the recent #EndSARS protest violence, which resulted in the looting, arson, and destruction of 12 LASTMA zonal offices and physical attacks on LASTMA officers, it, unfortunately, left physical and psychological scars on operational personnel.

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He said the agency is taking stock, restructuring, and re-strategising, adding it is the reason it has only covered about 60 per cent of its beats at some strategic intersections/junctions to eliminate frictions, reduce delays and ensure better flow of traffic.

According to a statement released by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Filade Olumide, the LASTMA DG said: “We are aware of the traffic congestion suffered by commuters as a result of many damaged traffic light junctions, absence of BRT bus operations, illegal vehicular movements and the general lack of respect for driving ethics by some. In all, the safety of every LASTMA personnel as with all Lagos residents is equally paramount.”

Oduyoye also debunked the news purported to have been announced by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disapproving LASTMA officials from arresting erring motorists.

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The viral news had read: “Henceforth no LASTMA officials should arrest any motorist, either commercial or private. The duty of LASTMA is to manage traffic and not to arrest anyone. I have heard a lot of complaints. Any official that violates the rule of his work will be severely dealt with.

“If at any time LASTMA officials makes attempt to arrest you or forcefully enter your car, do not argue with them. Just allow the LASTMA to enter your car and call these numbers 08129928600. 08129928550.”

Refuting this yesterday, Oduyoye stated that this is about the third time this type of story is making the rounds on social media. He recollected that the company that generated the first fake news has since apologized, retracted, and pulled down the news from the company’s site earlier this year.

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According to him, the primary duties of the agency are traffic control and management that includes the arrest of recalcitrant drivers as stated in the law setting up the agency, which was reviewed by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2018.

“Therefore, the governor who is our number one law-abiding citizen and law enforcement officer in the state would not flout the law let alone provide the opportunity for others to do so”, he said.

He enjoined citizens of Lagos and drivers that come into the state to at all times adhere strictly to the traffic laws of Lagos State in order to avoid paying the consequences of flouting it. He also advised Lagosians to adopt a positive attitude of obeying the laws of the state, which were made for the benefit of all, for orderliness, and for fast-paced socio-economic improvement of individuals, corporate entities, and generality of the people.

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