For some people, the joy of the day ends the moment they see the men in their yellow and burgundy coloured uniforms, wielding their baton like a justice device, “park! Park! park” they would scream in loop until the disillusioned driver is positioned at one corner of the road– Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, they are called.
‘Seriously what is the duty of LASTMA in Lagos state?’ lagosians would ask with dreadful asperity.
The answer is as simple as this; to manage traffic in Lagos State. LASTMA was formed in the year 2000 to inject order and control into the road traffic system in the state.
By employing modern traffic management techniques, the men in yellow shirts and burgundy trousers help to reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses through road traffic accidents, conflicts, congestion and delays on the public highways in Lagos state. They have peculiar duties that must be done to ensure hitch free traffic flow on Lagos roads.
In truth, the LASTMA agents have no right to do half the things they do to drivers and cars alike. For example; They have no right to ‘hundred naira notes’, they have no right to collect your car keys and or enter your car and drive off.
Contravention of any road sign does not attract the impounding of your car. The only contravention which makes you liable for prosecution is when you assault a LASTMA official –This would justify your car being impounded.
Furthermore, LASTMA can apprehend you and your car for driving in a direction prohibited by the Road Traffic Law.
It should be duly noted that LASTMA duties and your tax liabilities have no connection whatsoever.
Hence the second most asked question by frustrated drivers, ‘wouldn’t Lagos state be better without this LASTMA people?’ The answer is NO, their tasks are as important as they are peculiar to the agency. Another answer might be, Lagos state would be better if the agents performed within their jurisdictions.
Written by Ivharue Ofe