The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce) has auctioned 44 vehicles seized from traffic offenders, who were convicted by the court.
It was gathered that the offenders were alleged to have driven against traffic. Also to be auctioned are impounded 22 vehicles that were abandoned by their owners for over six months.
Lagos Taskforce Chairman, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, disclosed that owners of the impounded vehicles who abandoned their cars contravened the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018.
According to him, public notice had been issued for owners of both the court forfeited and abandoned vehicles to identify them at the agency’s car parks in Ikorodu and Bolade-Oshodi.
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He said: “At the expiration of the one-month verification exercise, the agency shall apply to the court for an order of ‘Public Auction’ where members of the public would have opportunity to buy any of the vehicles”.
Egbeyemi said the owners of the vehicles forfeited to the government pleaded guilty before Magistrate Omobola Salawu of the Lagos State Mobile Court at Oshodi after their arrests for driving against traffic.
He affirmed that in addition to forfeiture of the vehicles; each traffic offender was sentenced to 100 days of ‘Community Service’ at any public institution.
Egbeyemi, however, maintained that with the state government’s zero-tolerance for violation of the law; the agency would continue to prosecute traffic offenders until sanity is restored on the roads; with law-abiding citizens allowed to commute without being impeded by unlawful individuals.
Owners bemoan losses
“My heart bled seeing my car auctioned in my presence. I tried bidding, but each time I bid, there was always someone adding N100, 000 to my offer. That was how I lost my car, which was auctioned for N1.2 million.”
These were the words of a former owner of Toyota Corolla 2003 model whose car was auctioned.
It was mixed feelings for car owners and bidders at the auction of the 44 forfeited vehicles.
Offenders had arrived with the expectations to bid for their vehicles and get their cars back at an affordable price. However, they were shocked to meet a crowd of businessmen, ready with cash to also bid for the seized vehicles.
While some wore long faces as the auction continued, others openly wailed persuading bidders to let go of the auctioning. A woman in tears appealed to some police officers present to stop the auction at her bidding price; as it was the only source of income for herself and children.
A spokesman for the task force, Taofeek Adebayo, said the exercise became necessary to punish offenders; with the aim of easing traffic on Lagos roads, adding that the action was not punitive but corrective in nature.
“This is purely to serve as a deterrent to lawbreakers because since the #EndSARS protest ended; motorists have been driving recklessly against traffic, driving on BRT corridors and causing an obstruction on highways; not minding security personnel on the road, which contravenes the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018.”
Photo Credit: Getty