Sharp criticism was on Thursday leveled at the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola in Lagos State by the State Chapter of the National Conscience party [NCP].
At a press conference, NCP, which was founded by the late radical human rights Lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, reflected on the new traffic law which bans the operation of motorbikes, and the subsequent arrest and crushing of seized machines, and described the measures as “obnoxious.”
The party called for the reversal of the law and compensation of all poor families affected by its implementation in the state.
NCP Chairman in Lagos State, Mr. Tunde Agunbiade regretted that the State Government which had failed to provide employment for the people was clamping down on a means of livelihood being depended upon by the unemployed.
Mr. Agunbiade also accused Governor Fashola of imposing an anti-people law without consulting with stakeholders, while planting flowers under the pretext of beautifying Lagos to please the few rich at the expense of the poor masses.
The party emphasized that Governor Fashola’s ruling party in the State has manifested its real nature of deception and dictatorial rule, recalling that he had distributed ACN-branded helmets to the motorbike operators in the State ahead of the last election to obtain their votes, only to toss them aside altogether and then crush their bikes after they had helped him.
National General Secretary of the party, Mr. Ayodele Akele, said that Governor Fashola was inviting the military back to the system. He said the governor had no knowledge that the effort to end military rule in the country had cost activists and nationalists their lives and freedom. Akele expressed surprise that a civilian governor who also happens to be a lawyer would be the one to be so grossly violating human rights using executive power.
“We fought with blood and everything to put an end to the military rule in this country, but where was Fashola when we sacrificed everything to flush out the military; he was nowhere!
“It is now surprising that a civilian governor, who is supposedly a lawyer, would now be the one inviting the office of GOC 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Gen. Keneth Minimah to join him in the war against armless civilian okada operators,” Akele stated.
Mr. Akele, who was the Lagos State governorship candidate of the NCP during the 2011 election, called Mr. Fashola a pathological liar, while also claiming that the governor used loot from the State treasury to buy and lure voters for his second term in office.
“The truth is that people don’t want him, but he used his loot in office to buy peoples’ votes and the poor people supported him, including the innocent motorbike operators, although they are wiser now,” he said.
The party suggested in a statement made available to the press that the restriction of motorbike operators on highways and major roads was a confirmation that the ACN administration of Governor Fashola lacked any serious plan to solve the chaotic transport issues in the State. They said that that the new traffic laws have only worsened issues for commuters in Lagos and returned over 500,000 people who were fed through the operation of motorbikes to hopelessness.
That the new traffic laws must be abrogated; that confiscated motorbikes estimated at N700m should be returned; that the alleged invitation of military must be reversed and; that families of owners of motorbikes crushed so far by the State must be duly compensated are among the demands made by the party in the conference.
NCP also announced that it was mobilizing other political parties, civil society organizations, international human rights outfits as well as Amnesty International and other relevant masses-oriented organizations at home and abroad to intervene in what it said was a genocidal policy against the people.