The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said that the Lagos State Government lacks the will to enforce law and order on its roads.
Speaking as the lead speaker at a virtual program tagged, “Driving and the Nigerian in You,” which was convened by broadcast journalist, Adetola Kayode, the minister said that many Lagosians were unperturbed by abnormalities on their roads.
He said, “The first thing I want to say is that this is not a Nigerian problem. It is a human problem and the simple issue is law and order. Someone here once spoke about the presence of laws and the absence of implementation. It depends on how we behave.”
Fashola, who drew his case studies from some of the photos he took while on periodic visits to Lagos, pointed out how road enforcement officials flaunted the rules by cordoning off some roads in Moloney Street on the Lagos Island. The ex-governor noted that cordoning off a street is breaking the law, and also stressed the need for everyone in the city to be checked whenever they attempted to break the law.
“Until we act, and say that traders can’t trade on the streets, buses cannot park on the way, [and] pedestrians must remain on the sidewalk, we would live with rage and gridlock, hence the death and impact on health and general loss of productivity we are currently experiencing,” he stressed.
The minister underlined speed as one of the biggest causative factors of road traffic crashes. He noted that the speed limit on federal highways is a maximum of 100km/h. Nevertheless, he observed that several road users have failed to acknowledge some of the road infrastructure put in place by the ministry of works and housing.
Fashola made recourse to a route assurance sign which was cut off at Enugu but had been replaced, and manhole covers that are continually being stolen even after they are replaced. Stressing the cost of fire and recklessness on the roads by drivers to the state, he revealed that the damages to the Otedola and Kara bridges by fire from petrol tankers are estimated at a cost of N203million. He also added that the Obalende bridge cost N382m to repair.
The Minister noted that ever since he was appointed, progress has been recorded in his work. He said, “[What] we have done is to attempt to improve the condition of the road network, repair things that have been damaged, replace things that have been destroyed, [and] improve the infrastructure to reduce journey time. I am proud to say that we have made progress. Things are happening better in that respect since 2015.”
“In terms of law enforcement, the FRSC does not report to the ministry, they are not responsible to me, they are responsible to the secretary to the government. This is the structure according to the law today. My work is defined. I fix the road[s] and the FRSC enforces the law. I don’t have control over it and cannot manage what I don’t control,” he added.
Fashola also frowned against petty trading on the streets, adding that it is an argument he doesn’t accept. He compared the situation with foreign climes, dismissing the basis of the argument.