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Judgment: LASTMA is not a revenue-generating agency – Lawyer

1 Human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Malachy Ugwummaduwelcomed a court decision stopping the towing of vehicles and imposing fines by Lagos National Traffic Management Authority without a valid court order.

2 Ugwummadu, former national chairman of the Human Rights Defense Committee, told the news agency Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday that LASTMA was not a revenue-generating agency.

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3 He remarked that the idea of ​​creating LASTMA was good, but the attitude of some of its officers in carrying out their duties was bad.

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4 “The Lagos State Traffic Act, 2012 is aimed at apprehending traffic offenders and bringing them to justice, and if convicted, they must either waive or pay a fine, depending on the case.

5 “However, what they are doing these days is hiding in dark corners of the streets of Lagos, waiting for people to break the law even when there are no proper signs, and throw on the vehicle in order to generate funds.

6 “LASTMA is not a Lagos State revenue generating agency.

seven It is supposed to regulate traffic activities and help reduce traffic jams,” Ugwummadu said.

8 The lawyer said it was wrong to hide LASTMA agents in strange places in order to harass motorists.

9 He added that LASTMA’s arrest of suspected traffic offenders, towing their cars and extorting money was abusive.

ten “In most cases, they force their way into your car in a way that suggests they are not just thugs, but bent on extorting, and in their desperation to extort money , they leave out what is supposed to be done, even if what is alleged offenders.

11 “Section 36(1) of the 1999 constitution provides that in determining the rights and privileges of every Nigerian, such person shall be given a fair hearing by a court or tribunal, in this case a circuit court, in a manner that will ensure independence and impartiality.

12 “It is a violation of fundamental human rights.

13 “In other words, LASTMA is the accuser, the arresting officer, the prosecutor and also the judge, because they conclude to punish motorists without giving them the opportunity to say what happened”, a- he declared.

Ugwummadu commended the judge for his judgment and commended the petitioner for his courage.

The lawyer urged the media to do more to sensitize the public in an appropriate manner to enable them to be aware of their basic rights.

“The media must not relax the sensitization of the public so that they know their rights to a fair trial, to freedom of movement, to the right against torture and inhuman treatment.

“Even the Administration of Criminal Justice Act expressly prohibits harassment of suspects and has many provisions to restore dignity,” he said.

Ugwummadu urged Lagos State to use the judgment to embark on training its officers to avoid further damage.

NOPE reports that a ikeja The High Court on September 22 awarded damages of N750,000 against Lagos State Government for violation of a fundamental right of a lawyer, Mr. Lawal Aliyuto whom LASTMA agents towed his vehicle and imposed fines, without a valid court order.

LASTMA, the Lagos State Government and the State Attorney General were respondents in the lawsuit.

Justice Olalekan Oresanya ruled that it was unconstitutional for LASTMA to impose fines and tow the vehicles of alleged traffic offenders without a valid court order.

Aliyu had challenged the imposition of a 20,000 Naira fine by LASTMA for an alleged traffic violation and the imposition of a 10,000 Naira towing fine, which he was forced to pay by the traffic management agency.

Oresanya argued that public authorities and bodies could not act in a manner inconsistent and incompatible with the fundamental rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria.

“Even in jurisdictions where parliamentarians are supreme, such as the UKpublic bodies must not act in a manner incompatible with the convention and the rights of citizens as embodied in the European Convention on Human Rights, which has now been incorporated into the Human Rights Act from 1998. www.


NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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