The Lagos State Government has disclosed that the measures introduced by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to effectively manage traffic have led to the reduction in traffic congestion, reform of drivers through strict application of the road traffic law and prompt evacuation of crashes on the ever-busy roads in Africa’s fifth-largest economy.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, stated this in his keynote address at an engagement organised by Traffic Radio and LASTMA with the theme: “Repositioning of Traffic Information Agencies for Better Performance”, held on Tuesday at the Multipurpose Hall, Broadcasting Complex, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
Emphasising the importance of LASTMA in the Traffic Management and Transportation Pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, Omotoso praised the traffic management personnel saying, “You are major players in this sector. I give you kudos for all that you do”.
The Commissioner said, however, that there is still more work to be done as residents complain about the slow traffic encountered along Lagos roads. He gave an assurance saying, “the Federal Government is working on our roads. The State government is also working. The pains of today will, no doubt, result in gains tomorrow”.
Omotoso clarified that Lagos Traffic Radio was established as a child of necessity about ten years ago to provide the much-needed information that will help commuters plan their journeys to improve travel time across the city.
He said, “Traffic Radio 96.1FM has always provided life-saving traffic updates to teeming Lagosians, helping to modify behavioural patterns of motorists through its very robust content, while serving as an impeccable channel of feedback for government policies and programmes”.
Taking a critical look at the operations of LASTMA staff on Lagos roads, the Commissioner acknowledged that motorists make a plethora of complaints about the mode of operations of some of the agency’s personnel, pointing out, however, that the engagement between Traffic Radio and LASTMA will proffer solutions to the negative perception of the public about the operations of the traffic management officers.
His words: “Some of your officers have been found applying these laws harshly, sometimes forgetting your statutory mandate of helping to manage the traffic. They make the agency the subject of bitter social media jokes. That is not right. Whilst the Government will not support any attempt by the public to break the law on account of ignorance or “bigmanism”, we must be as fair as possible in the application of the law”.
He pointed out that all government personnel are public relations officers whose attitudes are seen as a reflection of the disposition of government to citizens, maintaining that the administration will always support the drive to further improve services to Lagosians.
While congratulating LASTMA and Traffic Radio for the commitment to ensuring the excellent performance of their role in the first pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda – Traffic Management and Transportation – Omotoso envisaged that the forum will provide an opportunity for the two organisations to synergise, strategise and build on the hitherto formidable relationship which has impacted on the management of traffic challenges.
He recalled that the birth of LASTMA in the year 2000 helped in managing the chaotic traffic that characterised Lagos in the 1970s to 2000, noting that the agency has helped in the reduction of traffic build-up across the metropolis, reformed drivers through strict application of the road traffic law and promptly dealt with crashes on the ever-busy roads.
Speaking further, the Commissioner said Lagos Traffic Radio would celebrate a decade of reporting on traffic and transportation, noting that the pioneering role of the broadcast outfit has enhanced social life through the provision of travel advisory that has aided better productivity, saved road users precious man-hours and helped commuters plan their daily routines.
While asserting that government will always support the drive of agencies to ensure strict adherence to rules and regulations, Omotoso said “we will not tolerate any attempt to humiliate or attack any traffic officer. Those who indulge in this primitive act should desist from so doing or be ready to face the law. We will continue to prosecute them”.