GIVE LAGOS TRAFFIC LAWS A CHANCE
The Lagos State Governor recently signed the traffic bill into law. Highlights of the law include the ban on driving against traffic, using the phone, eating or smoking while driving. Penalties range from fines to imprisonment. A tornado of criticisms have since greeted the newly introduced laws.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) calls the attention of Lagosians to the chaotic state of traffic in the state, particularly on Lagos Island and its suburbs like Ikeja, Agege, Ogba, Orile, Mile 2 and Okokomaiko. Those who experience it daily know that the experience is traumatic.
Its effect on the people's psyche and health is damaging both on the short and long runs. The man-hour loss digs a deep hole in the state's economy. Prospective investors are also known to have shunned Lagos for fear of its traffic bottle-neck. Heavy traffic also aids criminality as rogues are known to have attacked stranded motorists and commuters.
It is in the light of the above that MURIC lauds the vision behind the newly introduced laws. No responsible government will ignore the sufferings of its citizens or the lawlessness of a few unscrupulous elements in society. The hallmark of good governance lies in the timely response of those in power to the yearnings of law-abiding citizens.
The fear of possible abuse of the new laws has been expressed in certain quarters. Nonetheless, it is illogical that we will allow such fears to interfere with the law-making process. Such fears should not stop the authorities from making laws. There is a dogma that Nigerians in general (except a few) break the law at will. Patriotic and concerned citizens have suggested at one forum or another that we need a disciplinarian to straighten things out. We strongly believe that Lagos has found the solution. We must not kill the egg that lays the golden egg.
We charge all citizens to be conscious of their Allah-given and fundamental human rights. The few bad eggs among the law enforcement agencies must not be allowed to abuse the process or exploit innocent and law-abiding citizens. We call on Lagosians to expose overzealous officials by promptly reporting them to the authorities. MURIC wishes to warn those who are expected to implement the law to realize that Lagosians are more civilized this time around. Any attempt to be highhanded or to turn the laws into instruments of extortion will be resisted with every legitimate means at the people's disposal.
Finally, we appeal to Lagosians to cooperate with the authorities in sanitizing the traffic system in the state. We must not allow political shenanigans to exploit the situation. This is not about politics. It is about the people's welfare.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)