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LASTMA and the motoring public: Striking a balance

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LASTMA officials

We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws – Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005), American journalist.
 
Sir: The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) job comes with regular exposure to provocations and test of patience. LASTMA officers, on daily basis, are tested by different categories of people on the wheel – the good (patient and law-abiding), the bad (impatient and reckless), and the ugly (lawless and recalcitrant). The officers fail when they are found dealing with members of the public in uncivil ways; they pass when they relate with road users and even traffic offenders in civil ways.

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While this traffic personnel is human and prone to errors, their mistakes should be minimal, and as such extreme care must be taken by these road traffic personnel. However, it is not to rule out an important need for civility in the discharge of their duties. In every organisational setting, there are always the bad eggs who usually drag the organisation’s name and reputation into the mud. There have been complaints about some officers who misbehave when on duty and also partial or selective in their arrests of traffic offenders.

Respect, they say, is reciprocal and as such, it is expected in any human relationship. First approach speaks volumes of how good or bad the interaction will be. Saying discouraging words or making derogatory remarks at traffic officers when working, certainly, will drop their morale. If any LASTMA officer is, for example, found wanting in the discharge of his duties, such officer could be called to order politely or a formal report can also be made. Not engaging in a verbal confrontation with the officer or assaulting the personnel. It is also important to state that when committed and dedicated officers do great jobs, they should be commended.
Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.

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The General Manager of LASTMA Jide Oduyoye, while responding to contributions and complaints from one of those who lamented the reckless and lawless behaviours of yellow commercial buses said, “LASTMA officers are supposed to deal with traffic situations at all times. The idea of keeping a free flow of traffic is based on the little things that we do. The yellow buses cannot come and overrule us in Lagos. They cannot say because of their own business they will come and disturb everyone else who is not in their business.”

Traffic controllers will need a high level of cooperation and support from the motoring public in order to ensure sanity and the free flow of traffic on Lagos roads. Road users should make LASTMA public-friendly by reporting excesses of officials and forwarding suggestions or advice on ways of keeping traffic moving in Lagos. The task of keeping Lagos traffic moving should not be left only in the hands of traffic managers but also in the hands of all road users.
 
Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.

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