Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday accused his political opponents of plotting to snatch ballot boxes with the use of commercial motorcycles during the forthcoming general election.
He, however, denied insinuations in the social media that his administration had perfected plan to reverse the Lagos Road Traffic Law, which he said, was enacted in 2012 to ensure public safety in the state.
He said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Information & Strategy, Dr. Lateef Raji, saying his administration had no plan to reverse itself on this important issue now or in the immediate future.”
The statement said the reason and motive of the sponsors of this unpopular agenda “is obviously to set the stage for roguish conduct in the 2015 election. Their action is not altruistic but sinister.
“Their subtle and malicious campaign is to aid their sinister plots of fomenting trouble and snatching ballot boxes with the use of Okadas during the forthcoming General Election. Such evil plans will have no place in Lagos.”
The statement, therefore, said by enacting the traffic law, the state government “had made considerable gains in discharging the primary responsibility of government to our people in the area of protection of life and property.
“The decision to regulate the use of commercial motorcycles on our highways was not a unilateral decision but a response to popular demands by members of the public who have been at the receiving end in their daily interactions with the okada operators.”
Altogether, the statement said, there are 9,100 roads in Lagos State. Motorcycles below 200cc are restricted on only 475 of these roads, which represent 5.6 percent of roads in Lagos. The result and impact of this decision have been tremendous.
Prior to the enactment of the law, the statement said the state was recording an average of 16 motorcycle-related deaths across the State every month and an average of 646 injured patients from motorcycle related serious accidents at states secondary and tertiary hospitals.
But by March 2014, the statement said the statistics “showed only one to two motorcycle-related deaths and less than 100 motorcycle accident related injuries in a month. No doubt, we have all the reasons to thump our chest that we have been responsive and responsible in the discharge of our duty to the people of Lagos.”
The statement, thus, urged the okada riders “to go about their lawful duty by obeying all the provisions of the traffic law, especially those that restrict them from certain roads, those that compel them to always wear crash elements, not ride with more than one passenger, not carry a child below the age of 12, not carry a pregnant woman or a passenger who is also bearing a load on his head while riding, etc. All these are obviously for the safety of all.”
He also urged them to report all incidents of wrongful arrest or oppression by law enforcement agencies promptly, individually or through Union Executives, to the Attorney General’s Office or Office of the Public Defender for prompt action.
He added that the duty of a responsible government “is to protect life and property, and this we shall continue to do through the Road Traffic Law 2012.”