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Nigerians blast Lagos state govt’s decision to auction vehicles seized for traffic offence

  Lagos residents took to social media on Friday to lament their experiences with law enforcement agents in the state over alleged traffi...

 


Lagos residents took to social media on Friday to lament their experiences with law enforcement agents in the state over alleged traffic offences.


The state government on Thursday auctioned 134 forfeited and abandoned vehicles at the Taskforce compound in Alausa, Ikeja.


An aide to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Jubril Gawat, on Friday, said the owners of the impounded vehicles ran away and failed to turn up for “court process.”


While several social media users backed the government’s action, others described it as “harsh.”


Ismail Oduneye, a lawyer, shared via his Twitter handle that he was a victim in 2016.


“I remember back then in 2016, a drunk driver drove on a one-way road while myself and my colleague were on a bike and this drunk person hit us and ran away, leaving my colleague dead after 3 days while I sustained a gruesome injury in my leg,” he said.


“Sir, I sincerely have no iota of pity on these Lawbreakers who paint emotional sympathy after committing offences relating to road trafficking. I am sure my colleague who died 6 years back, his parents would find it hard to forget his death.”


@fimiletoks said people who drive against traffic in Lagos, especially on the highways are “murderers until proven otherwise.


“Your car will be forfeited to the government and auctioned to normal people. You can tell the judge that you left jollof rice on fire at home hence the need to drive against traffic…”


@Ogbeni_Skrtel said: “My leader’s brother-in-law was knocked down by a car driving against traffic over a year ago. It’s to the glory of God that the Ẹgbọn is still alive and as of that, he can’t walk by himself again till today.


“Hard for me to say the punishment is too severe mehn.”


Tunde Aluko also narrated a sad experience of how his uncle was knocked down by someone driving against traffic.


“My uncle died after almost 4yrs of total memory loss, he remembered nothing till his last day, he was knocked down by someone riding against traffic, if your vehicle is impounded for driving against traffic or you’re even jailed for life, zero sympathy!”


@I_AM_ILEMONA, shared his displeasure at the public auction.


He said he was once fined N25,000 for driving against traffic flow after he was misdirected by a LASTMA officer.


“In a state where there are some roads with no signs indicating it is one way?


“I have been a victim of a LASTMA official directing me down a road in Bariga that was one way then being among the people that administered my N25k “fine”. LASTMA officials routinely lie that people jumped traffic lights.”


@Omogbajabiamila in his post said that the state government enforced traffic offences in “mafia-style.”


He also shared a video of a part of Lagos that has no “one-way signage.”


In the video, an unidentified man had taken a one-way unknowingly and was confronted by a LASTMA official.


The man insisted that he wasn’t aware because there was no signage to direct road users. However, the officer said he had flouted the traffic law.


Similarly, Adetutu Balogun claimed that the auctioned vehicles were bought by government cronies.


“Lagos state government of Emilokan is selling them to their friends,’ she said. “Nigeria is a crime scene!”


‘Unconstitutional’

Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, described the public auction of the vehicles as unconstitutional because the offenders were not given an opportunity to be heard in court.


“Any law that empowers the government to confiscate and/ or auction the vehicle or other property of a citizen for an alleged offence (s), without a fair hearing and due process is unconstitutional and void,” the lawyer said.

“Such a law offends the fundamental rights to fair hearing and property.


“The court of law will declare such a law inconsistent with the provisions of 36 and 43 of the Constitution which guarantees the rights of every person to fair hearing and ownership of property, respectively. Lagos State Government claims that Mobile Courts permitted the auctions.


“That is not a sufficient answer to the constitutionality issues arising from the auctions.”


The lawyer queried the procedures followed in securing the orders for forfeiture from the mobile court.


He also said that since traffic infractions are criminal offences, then offenders must first be tried in court before punishment can be imposed.


“If the owners or drivers of some of the vehicles didn’t appear in court, and were not convicted, as alluded to by agents of the Lagos State Government, should we infer that they were tried in absentia? How did the Mobile Courts assume jurisdiction over the cases? Who were the parties?


“Or should we assume that the orders authorizing the vehicles to be auctioned were made in civil proceedings, and not in criminal cases? The basis of the auction is that offences were committed. Where are the charge sheets? Those vehicles most likely had license plate numbers.”


Mr Effiong asked if the state government took any steps to locate the owners of the vehicles through their licensed number plates before auctioning their vehicles.


“To those defending the auctioning of the vehicles because it has been claimed that Mobile Court authorized it, have you been to the Lagos State Mobile Court before?


“From my experience, the Mobile Court operates basically like a revenue court. I won’t say more than that.”



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Google9ja | Entertainment | Nigerian Latest News online: Nigerians blast Lagos state govt’s decision to auction vehicles seized for traffic offence
Nigerians blast Lagos state govt’s decision to auction vehicles seized for traffic offence
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