Ikeja – Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Friday stressed that the underlying factor in the newly-introduced traffic law of the state was to save lives.
Fashola told media executives in his office in Ikeja that the state would strive harder to make the residents understand that the law was in their own interest, as there was need to make changes and improve on the quality of lives.
“Since the law was assented to on Aug. 2, we have been slow to enforce, but quick to pursue awareness campaigns—giving more information, educating the people.
“Transportation determines if we get it right or wrong, as it affects all facets of our lives—be it health, family, economy, etc”, he said.
He wondered what a worker who was supposed to work an eight-hour job would offer his employer if he had to spend six or more hours in traffic—going and coming back from the office.
Such a way of life would also mean losing quality time to traffic, instead of being with loved ones at home, relaxing and being in good health.
According to Fashola, an accident does not give notice and the slightest distraction causes irreversible damages, including death, loss of limbs and life-long trauma.
He also reminded residents that accidents would not discriminate between the poor and the rich, young and old, or the famous and unknown.
“It can be anybody; if you are there when somebody acts negligently, it could be the end,” he said, adding that he had never used the siren in the more than five years he had been governor and understood the danger posed by reckless driving, drunk driving and worst of all, driving against traffic.
Showing a 1966 photograph of traffic on the Carter Bridge, Lagos, Fashola noted that driving was quite sane then and that life should not be cheapened for whatever reason, now that the metropolis was home to about 20 million people.
The governor said that blaming the recent ocean surge at Kuramo Beach on the Atlantic City under construction at Victoria Island was not tenable.
According to Fashola, the area being sand-filled for the new city project is merely a reclaiming of land that had been eroded by the ocean over the years, as the ocean had eaten more than two kilometres off the land.
He emphasised that though Lagos was two metres below sea level, the government would continue to work harder to ensure that the current effect of climate change was minimised for the safety of the people.
Fashola also stressed his preference for the creation of state police, saying there was need to change what was not working.
He dismissed the fear of abuse being nursed in some quarters on the issue, adding that nobody could remain in power for ever and that the safety of Nigerians should not be politicised.