Lagos Assembly Calls For Caution On Operation Velvet -Urges Ambode To Empower PWC To Begin Palliative Works On Roads

The Lagos State House of Assembly has called for caution on the implementation of “Operation Velvet” through which the Nigerian Police and other agencies are checking vehicle particulars and enforcing traffic laws on Lagos roads.

Raising the issue under Matter of Urgent Public Importance on !Monday, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade stated that the House commended the Nigerian Police and others for the decision to curtail traffic recklessness on Lagos roads.

He however, urged the House to call on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state to appeal to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Edgal Imohinmi to allow vehicle owners to regularise their documents before the commencement of the operation.

Agunbiade also urged the Assembly to call on the Ministry of Information to inform the people to regularise their documents.

He added that Public Works Corporation (PWC) should begin palliative works on the roads in the state and bring them back to order.

“The declaration of the Nigerian Police and other sister agencies to commence Operation Velvet targeted, as described by the police, at bringing sanity back into vehicular activities in the state to ensure strict compliance to traffic laws by vehicle owners is commendable.

“That all other vehicles exempted from plying BRT roads would be arrested if they do so is also commendable,” he said.

Agunbiade however, said that the directive that documents of vehicles would be checked and the operators of the vehicle would be tried by a mobile court and made to comply was unacceptable

He stated that it takes time to deal with one vehicle and one driver, but that the process would cause hold ups and traffic congestion and that commuters would be stranded.

“It happened this morning as passengers were stranded. It would have been better if the police declared a time for people to get necessary documents or else it would affect the people.

“We commend them for bringing sanity into the system, but they should give a moratorium to prevent compounding the traffic situation in Lagos State. The Governor should call the state Commissioner of Police to order on the operation,” he said.

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Mudashiru Obasa said that it was not out of place for the police to collaborate with others to be more effective.

On “Operation Velvet,” he said that the law has to be respected, while appealing to the state police command to jettison the issue of particulars now.

“People should be given time to regularise their documents. So many things are included in the operation.

“The law has been in place for many years, why the sudden action. “We want to appeal to the police to give people time to get necessary documents before they talk of arresting people.

“We also want to say that such an opportunity should not be used for extortion and harassment. The Commissioner of Police should take steps to guide against all these,” he said.

Obasa stated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode should direct PWC to start doing palliative measures on the roads in the state despite the fact that there are pressures on the roads.

He added: “We should not allow potholes to dominate our roads. The contractors handling new roads should speed up their works.

“Where roads that are repaired within six months start having potholes is not good enough. It doesn’t make sense for the roads to go bad within months after repairs.

“People should be given opportunity to obtain necessary documents. We should computerise the system and know those whose papers have expired without going to the roads,” he said.

In his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo from Shomolu Constituency 1 said that he thought there was a war, when he got to out in the morning.

Olowo said that the situation could lead to anarchy because as one problem is being solved another one is being created.

“We have issues at hand so we must not go into a policy that could delay people from going to work because it could lead to loss of man hour.

“We have VIS, FRSC and Police who have their functions. The House should call on the Governor and the state Commissioner of Police to give moratorium and necessary publicity should be done before the operation is fully carried out,” he said.

Also Hon. Bisi Yusuff from Alimosho 1 said that traffic congestion in the state was caused by the government themselves.

He said that, when the Traffic Law was passed, facing oncoming vehicles is unlawful, but when the present government got to power, LASTMA was made powerless.

He said: “I know that passing one way is bad, but our main roads and inner roads are bad. We must arrest the situation of our roads and call Public Works to go back to work. We should allow LASTMA officials to do their jobs and if anyone misbehaves, he or she should be dealt with.”

Also speaking, Hon. Olusegun Olulade from Epe Constituency 2 said that the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos State should be considered before any decision is made, adding that the major issue on the operation is for police and security agencies to check documents.

The lawmaker said that as festive period is near man hours would be lost.

He advised that there should be moratorium period of six months before offenders are punished.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu from Eti Osa Constituency 2 also supported the issue and said that it could affect traffic due to the fact that ember months are near.

“What we read in the news is combative. We should not use fire brigade approach and we are creating panic in people with the operation.

“What we want in Lagos is sustained traffic management system, where the people in-charge can do their work and arrest offenders. They should drop the policy of impounding vehicles and face traffic management in the state,” he said.

This was by Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu from Agege Constituency 2, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh from Apapa Constituency 2, Hon. Fatal Mojeed from Ibeju-Lekki Constituency 1 Hon. Moshood Oshun from Lagos Mainland Constituency 2 and others.

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