THE Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said that the Lagos State Government lacked the will to enforce law and order on its roads.
Speaking virtually as lead speaker at a programme tagged, ‘Driving and the Nigerian in You’, which was convened by a broadcast journalist, Adetola Kayode, Fashola said that many Lagosians themselves were unperturbed by abnormalities on their roads.
He said, “The first 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 on Moloney Street on the Lagos Island. The ex-governor noted that cordoning off a street was breaking the law.
He 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, pedestrians must remain on the sidewalk, we would live with rage and gridlock. Hence the death and impact on health, and the general loss of productivity we are currently experiencing,” he said.
The minister, noting that the speed limit on federal highways is a maximum of 100 kilometres per hour, underlined speed as one of the biggest causative factors of road traffic crashes.
He observed that many road users had failed to acknowledge the significance of the road infrastructure put in place by the ministry of works and housing.
He made recourse to a route assurance sign which was cut off at Enugu but has been replaced and cover for manholes, which he lamented were continuously being stolen.
Pointing out the cost of recklessness of individuals and fire incidents to the state, Fashola estimated the damage from petrol tanker fires to the Otedola and Kara bridges on the Lagos State end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway from petrol tankers at N203 million.
Fashola spoke of the progress he had recorded as works minister.
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, 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 and the FRSC enforces the law. I don’t have control over it and cannot manage what I don’t control.”
Frowning against street trading, he dismissed whatever arguments were being given in its favour, saying we should emulate the sanity and order in sane climes.