The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, on Friday inaugurated mobile courts in the state which will move around the metropolis to summarily try traffic offenders and mete immediate punishments to them where applicable.
With the mobile courts, which would move around in buses, Atilade said the end had come to “the era of recklessness and impunity on our public roads and highways.”
The Chief Judge regretted that until now unruly road users, who daily cut the lives of innocent citizens short and caused traffic snarl leading to wastage of productive hours on the roads, had gone unpunished.
She, however, said the situation, which she described as unacceptable, would no longer go unpunished as the mobile courts signified the state’s determination “to fully enforce the extant traffic laws in the state and take stiffer measures against road traffic offenders.”
Atilade said, “Those who chose to make life difficult for other people, especially on our roads, should have a re-think, as they would henceforth be held accountable for their deeds.
“Flagrant disregard or violation of traffic rules with impunity is unacceptable and as such, must be discouraged and condemned by all.”
The Chief Judge said the initiative was targeted at curbing the excesses of “those to whom the laws of the land are of no value.”
She said, “You see them break traffic rules at will, and cause needless traffic snag on our roads. They also, most often, drove against traffic and beat the traffic lights, destroy traffic furniture and infrastructures, drive across the road median and through their lawlessness and irresponsible actions, daily inflict pains, grieve and sorrow on fellow citizens.
“Businesses are impeded, as several productive hours are unnecessarily lost in traffic, mostly due to acts of indiscipline by few recalcitrant and obstinate drivers and road users, who are laws unto themselves. As, we speak, many have been sent to early graves, while several others are either maimed or lying critically ill in the hospital.”
She stated that the courts would be presided over by magistrates who are vast in all aspects of the law, and warned law enforcement agents not to allow themselves to be caught abetting or condoning reckless drivers.
In his speech, the state’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said the initiative was not only to punish traffic offenders but to also give the citizens better access to justice.
“It is hoped that these mobile courts, which is an institutional reaction to identified social challenges, will facilitate prompt and immediate trial of traffic and environmental offenders,” Kazeem said.