Law enforcement in any society is a daunting and challenging task. Naturally, human being abhors what would curtail and impede their freedom. This is more prevalent in our environment where impunity reigns. It is this unchecked freedom that incapacitates free flow of traffic and degenerated into disorderliness, chaos, and accidents on our roads.
To restore sanity to our roads, there is an urgent need for new approaches in enforcing, managing and controlling traffic laws in Lagos state.
The paradigm shift could not have come at a more appropriate time than now.
The objectives of law all over the world are the same. Therefore, functions of law according to the business basic law are for establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) was established in the year 2000 to control, manage, and enforce traffic laws. To achieve its statutory core objectives, the agency at various times had deployed different methods and approaches to solving traffic problems, rid the road of impunity for orderliness and ensure safety on our roads.
However, while the methods deployed have yielded results in certain areas, it has been observed that the enforcement style are often counterproductive and yielded limited results to the free flow of traffic. The current administration began a comprehensive overhauling of traffic management system for two reasons:
- To clear areas of enforcement considered to impede the free flow of traffic.
- To create a public friendly LASTMA.
This is with a view to repositioning the agency for first-class service delivery and aligns its operations with the best global practices. With this new approach, LASTMA has jettisoned the anachronistic military method of implementing traffic laws which often resulted in motorists’ intimidation, unhealthy relationship, mistrust, and corruption between traffic officers and the public.
The agency has also developed a new traffic control and enforcement protocol, anchored on the principle of civility, officers self-discipline, human, fairness, firm and respect for motorists’ rights. In addition, traffic officers are well-trained to focus less on vehicle apprehension (except where extremely necessary), unwarranted rash decisions in towing of vehicles and indiscriminate use ticketing to fine motorists. Automated Booking Machine was also introduced to checkmate corrupt practices. One thousand, two hundred (1,200) additional traffic officers were also recruited to increase efficiency in traffic control, coupled with the availability of 24/7 telephone lines for motorists complaints and suggestions, while various incentives, training, welfare programs, and equipment were introduced to boost officers’ morale.
LASTMA has taken the responsibility of redeeming its image through these new approaches. In order to ensure a favorable mindset of the public towards LASTMA, the agency has reinvigorated Public Affairs and Enlightenment Departments for elaborate sensitization and enlightenment campaigns across the state.
Moreso, the establishment of LASTMA Public Community Relation Committee will create a platform that will encourage public inputs, involvement, and interaction in traffic control and management at the local level as well as the grassroots level.
Conclusively, economic growth and development will be stimulated if and only when traffic is professionally managed with the impetus of a paradigm shift in a mega city like Lagos State.
Itesiwaju eko lo je wa logun!