By Lanre Adesanya
Resolved to tackle the resurgence of hellish traffic confronting Lagos metropolis, the newly appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Christian Olakpe has declared that he would become the enemy of erring Lagosians with the way the parastatal would work henceforth.
Olakpe, who had been invited to the House to explain the constant traffic gridlock in the state, told the lawmakers today that he would re-invigorate LASTMA in three months.
The retired AIG stated that he was not new to Lagos as he said that he was born here, adding that there would be no waivers in the enforcement of traffic laws in the state under his leadership.
He said further that there would be strict compliance with the traffic laws in the state, saying that he has even warned his friends and relatives not to call him over any erring motorist, while promising to deal with deviant LASTMA officials.
“I am an advocate of reward for good work and punishment for evil work. I can dismiss any officer on the spot and we are going to revive LASTMA within a short period of time. We will give the authority the impetus it needs.
“Once you are dismissed, your name would be published in the press and in our gazette. There would be reduction of ranks of offending officers. I will warn my men seriously and I will visit the Provost Marshall of the Nigerian Army for his support and any military man that beats a LASTMA official would be dealt with.
“I have friends in the Nigerian Army and the Police as a former police spokesman. We also plan to go to Ajah to do a participatory observation of what is going on there,” he said.
The LASTMA CEO however, appealed to the state government to provide designated bus stops and vowed that any motorist, who plies one way or BRT dedicated lane would have his or her vehicle impounded and the owner would have to pay a fine .
Olakpe then appealed to the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and other lawmakers in the state not to cal him to help any erring motorist.
He said that he was ready to be dealt with by anybody in the state, adding that it is now a do-or-die affair.
“I will work until we get a new improved LASTMA. Our men would be visible and accessible. Whoever goes against the law would be pursued with power bike by LASTMA officials. There would be mobile courts. I am still fit and strong to receive phone calls anytime of the day.
“On enforcement, we will touch many places and we want the local government chairmen in the state to help us do some roads in their areas. We also want the Speaker of the House to help us increase our funding so that we can give raincoats, rainboots and torchlights to our men,” he states.
The LASTMA Chairman also cleared the air on the allegation that some LASTMA officials work from morning till late in the night as he said that they work on shift basis, and that commercial bus drivers would be dealt with to submission.
Also speaking, the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Bashiru Ibraimo said that they were in the Assembly to show their support for the Lagos State Government on the need to have a new LASTMA.
He also promised that it would no longer be business as usual with transportation in the state, and that anyone who flouts the traffic law would have him or herself to blame.
In his reaction, Speaker Obasa observed that the state has the capacity to ensure free flow of traffic and that Mr. Olakpe should ensure that he achieve his plans as promised within three months.
“Once the traffic is free, nobody would ply one way. I am assuring you of our support at all times and we will do everything necessary to ensure that LASTMA functions and progresses. We are concerned and passionate about traffic in Lagos State as the representatives of over 20 million people,” he said.