As part of effort to restore normalcy on Lagos roads, the state Anti-Oneway and Other Traffic Offences Squad, has impounded 42 vehicles owned by Nigerian Police officers, Nigerian Navy officer and others for contravening the state road traffic law.
Of the 42 vehicles impounded, three were owned by officers of the Nigerian police, one by a Navy officer while the 38 others withheld by the squad during enforcement on Friday include two articulated trucks and commercial tricycles that were seen driving against traffic by the enforcement team.
It was learnt that the alleged offenders met their waterloo during an operation led by the Commander of policemen in Governor’s Monitoring Team (GMT), Shola Jejeloye, on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Mile 2 axis, Ikeja, Maryland, Fadeyi, Jibowu, Palm Grove and Yaba.
The Squad was specially created by the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, at the instance of the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with the specific mandate to arrest and impound vehicles plying one-way, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes and also commercial motorcycles operating in restricted areas.
As learnt, the mission assumed a dangerous turn when a commercial bus driver, who drove against traffic on Cele Bridge, made an attempt to ram into the operational vehicles of the squad in a bid to avoid arrest.
Rather than stop, the driver of the bus, which was fully loaded with passengers, dangerously meandered through the gaps in the convoy and made an attempt to hit officers on sight.
The bus movement, however, was halted when it hit a stationary water truck and the driver fled immediately, leaving the bus and passengers to their fate. Aside from this, other commercial buses and tricycles obstructing flow of traffic at various locations were also arrested and towed to the Taskforce office in Alausa.
As gathered, the enforcement was jointly carried out by the Squad and men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), who provided towing vehicles to ensure impounded vehicles do not cause gridlock on the road.
Speaking during the operation, the GMT Commander, Jejeloye, vowed that the Squad would not relent in its bid to achieve its mandates and return sanity on the roads.
He described one-way driving as a menace and that it usually endangered lives of other road users obeying traffic laws, saying, many commuters had lost their lives as a result of one-way driving.
On the officers’ arrested, the commander of the squad: “two police officers driving a Pickup marked “Escort” on a one-way lane at Toyota Bus Stop along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway were accosted by the Squad.
“The vehicle was impounded alongside the car of a naval rating driving against traffic close to Itire roundabout. Another police officer driving a private Toyota Camry car was arrested by the Squad in Mile 2 area.
“We are, again, sounding a note of warning to motorists who do not want to obey the Lagos State Traffic Laws. We will not rest on our oars until we ensure road users follow the regulations and bring about free flow of traffic.
“We also have the Governor’s mandate to ensure those causing obstruction on our highways are arrested, whether those trading on the road or vehicles. We have marked the notorious areas and we will burst them soon. This operation will be regular and shall be sustained in the interest of law-abiding Lagosians,” he added.
Jejeloye, however, appealed to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other transport unions to caution their members against driving on one-way and obstructing traffic flow.
The GMT boss said the Squad would not spare commercial bus drivers arrested for traffic offences, stressing that vehicles and their drivers would be taken to court.
“I am also using this opportunity to reach out to transport unions, whether road or national. They must warn their drivers that are notorious for committing traffic offences. We don’t want to disturb their lawful work, but they also must not be on the other side of the law. Let them respect traffic regulations and there will be no problem,” Jejeloye said.