The Lagos state government has filed an appeal against the judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Olalekan Oresanya, which forbids the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, from imposing fines and towing vehicles.
Honourable Justice Olalekan Oresanya on the 22nd day of September 2022, delivered the judgement that LASTMA could not impose fines and tow vehicles without an Order from the Court of competent jurisdiction.
However, a statement from the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, signed by barrister Hameed Oyenuga, Director of Civil Litigation, announced that the state government had reviewed the judgement and found it unsatisfactory.
The announcement from the justice ministry said the state government had gone ahead to exercise its constitutional right of appeal by filing a Notice of Appeal on the 30th day of September 2022.
Hence, an application for a Stay of Execution of the judgment was also filed which means all categories of drivers on Lagos roads must maintain the status quo ante 22nd September 2022, until the final determination of the appeal at the temple of justice.
The statement however put it so very terse by cautioning that, “Consequently, members of the public are therefore advised to be law abiding and ensure compliance with all relevant Laws of the State”.
By the state government’s appeal and the filing for a stay of execution on the pronouncement from the temple of justice, the status quo is expected to be maintained until the final determination of the appeal.
Succinctly put, members of the public are still not expected to act in accordance with that pronouncement/judgement. But it’s to be kept in view.
Ipso facto, drivers in Lagos state are hereby especially advised to comply with all road traffic regulations. Special cognizance also needs to be accorded the Lagos State Public Transport Reform law of 2018 and as amended.
EXCERPT FROM THE KERNEL OF THE JUDGEMENT
The initial suit filed by a Nigerian citizen, Mr Lawal Aliyu, a barrister at law, contested the N20,000 fine imposed on him by LASTMA for an alleged traffic offence, and another fine of N10,000 for towing his vehicle and of which he was forced to pay the sum of thirty thousand naira only, (N30,000.00k), and for the encroachment of his fundamental human right of free and unfettered movement, by the traffic enforcement agency.
The court awarded damages of N750,000 against LASTMA, in favour of barrister Aliyu.
While acceding to the prayers the plaintiff brought before the court, the judge streamlined the issues in the matter to three and resolved them in favour of the plaintiff (Aliyu), relying on Sections 34, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
On the contentious matter of accusing the plaintiff of obstruction with his vehicle, seizure and towage of the plaintiff’s vehicle by LASTMA operatives, the judge pronounced that the respondent, LASTMA, could not justify its action.
Justice Oresanya pronounced thus, “Public Authorities and Bodies cannot act in a manner that is inconsistent and incompatible with the fundamental rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the grundnorm.”
The judge also said there was no part of the Lagos State Traffic Management Law (2018) that permits the subjugation of the applicant’s right to freedom of movement.
On the aspect of ticketing and towing fee imposed on the plaintiff, the court said a careful perusal of Section 27 (1) b, c, d and e of Traffic Management Law relied upon by the respondents revealed that LASTMA cannot impose a fine without arraignment of the alleged traffic offender in court.
LASTMA action the court said, amounted to ignoring a fair hearing and assuming the position of a judge in one’s case.
The court frowned at towing the plaintiff’s vehicle when it was serviceable and the plaintiff was not accused of preventing the arrest of his vehicle only for the respondent to later impose a fine for the service not requested by the plaintiff.
The court described the action of LASTMA operatives thus, “…to my mind, this is the height of oppression and impunity and it is condemnable”
Succinctly put, Honourable Justice Olalekan Oresanya made the following pronouncement, “I give judgment for the Applicant in the following terms; I make a declaration that the obstruction, towage, seizure, and impoundment of the Applicant’s car with Registration NO. AGL 93 DW on the 23rd November 2021, by the Respondents, is unlawful, illegal, and unconstitutional as same amounted to a gross violation of the Applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of movement as enshrined in Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”.
Albeit, the Lagos State Government on the 30th day of September; 2022, filed a Notice of Appeal containing four (4) grounds of appeal against the judgment.
Be assured that NTH will bring to your reading delight every material particular that shall be presented to the court by each of the parties to shore up their position.
Also, the final determination of the suit as shall be pronounced by the court on this legal battle shall be availed to our readers for gratis. Thank you for your time. GraciasShare