Motorists warn law enforcement of excesses


Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and police are responsible for enforcing traffic rules and regulations on roads across the country.

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) joins the bodies to perform these functions in the state.

It is not uncommon to find staff from such organizations littered along the roads, trying to make life easier for motorists and commuters in general, day in and day out.

In places like Lagos, where traffic on the roads can be hellish, encounters between law enforcement and vehicle drivers sometimes leave bitter stories.

Road users in other parts of the country also have different stories to tell, some sweet, some sour.

However, stakeholders want authorities to insist on civility in law enforcement’s dealings with road users, as is done in advanced countries.

Sunday Imoh, supervisor at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, recounted one of his experiences, in which he thought law enforcement could have done better.

He said that one day a combined team of traffic enforcement agencies, including the police, accosted him as he was returning home from work.

Mr Imoh said the officers forcibly took his direction without telling him of his offense and drove the vehicle away.

He said he was too tired and drove a utility vehicle home.

According to him, it took three days of searching various units of the Federal Government and Lagos State government agencies to locate the vehicle.

He said he was accused of “mispassing”.

Another motorist, a mechanic from Isolo who identified himself simply as Abbey, also said some traffic officers need more civility.

He alleged that in some cases law enforcement colluded with street urchins commonly known as Area Boys, to apprehend innocent motorists.

Recounting his ordeal, Mr Abbey said he was testing a customer’s vehicle and some Area Boys jumped into the road, stalling it for no reason before some traffic officers joined the management.

He said he had to negotiate his release and part with some money to avoid being taken to the station.

“May God not allow us to be unhappy to meet the wrong officers on the road,” he said.

Lagos Police Command Spokesman SP Benjamin Hundeyin told NAN that an average of five complaints are received each week alleging violent conduct in the enforcement of traffic rules and regulations by some officers.

He said the command’s complaint response unit handles such cases.

Mr Hundeyin said that as a punishment, some officers are reprimanded by demotion if their misconduct is deemed serious.

He said some were stationed in barracks, train stations or headquarters where they would have limited dealings with the public.

He said the police do not tolerate misconduct by their personnel.

The Lagos Sector Commander, FRSC, Corps Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, on his part, said that officers found to have been found guilty of misconduct while on duty risked dismissal from the service.

The corps commander said that several sanctions had been put in place by the management to curb the excesses of their personnel.

Mr Ogungbemide said they vary depending on the nature of the offenses committed by an officer.

He said, however, that reports of such violent behavior among his men were minimal.

This, he said, was due to the strict measures in place to guide the activities of officers while on duty.

He said that FRSC officers had a good orientation regarding their professional ethics.

According to him, this gave them a positive disposition when dealing with members of the public.

The FRSC boss, however, indicated that despite the efforts put in place by the management, there could still be one or two bad eggs in the system.

He said FRSC disciplinary procedures had been put in place to deal with all forms of misconduct.

Mr Ogungbemide said they always allow members of the public to make submissions and these are being investigated.

LASTMA, for her part, said it could only get better if and when audience members shared their experiences.

He said these also include positives, as they provide evidence, if any, of perceived offences.



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