A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has ruled that the imposition of fines and forceful towing of vehicles belonging to alleged traffic offenders, by officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA without a court order is illegal.
Justice Olalekan Oresanya made the declaration while delivering judgment in a suit filed by a legal practitioner, Lawal Aliyu against LASTMA, the Lagos State Government, and the state’s Attorney General.
Aliyu had filed the suit to challenge the N20,000 fine imposed on him by LASTMA for an alleged traffic offence, and another N10,000 towage fine which he was forced to pay by the traffic enforcement agency.
Justice Oresanya held that “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.
“Even in the jurisdiction, where parliamentary laws/statutes are supreme, such as the United Kingdom, public bodies must not act in a manner that is incompatible with the convention and rights of citizens as embodied in the European Convention on Human Rights which has now been incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right, being an equivalent of the ECHR, and which has now being codified into the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, 2004 being the equivalence law.”
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