As it gears up to take over traffic management on all federal roads, the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P)/FERMA Federal Task Force has directed the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to vacate all federal roads in the state. It said any attack on his men may spark a row with the Federal Government.
It said LASTMA should respect the 2004 court ruling which said that its jurisdiction does not extend to federal roads in the state.
Speaking in his office last week, the National Coordinator of the Task Force Alhaji Abdulrazak Rafiu-Otto, said LASTMA should allow his officers and men to perform the duties for which they were employed. He stated that the men’s duties were the management and maintainance of traffic across all federal roads in Lagos and the recovery of all Federal Government properties and infrastructure in the state.
Rafiu-Otto, who insisted that the Task Force has nothing against LASTMA, appealed that the latter stay off federal roads and concentrate efforts of its officers and men to ridding the state roads of the traffic gridlock that is intractable in the state. He said his agency would be willing to collaborate with LASTMA in the overall objective of riding the state of gridlocks.
Wondering why the state government would raise a false alarm on the activities of his men, Rafiu-Otto said the agency was not illegal, as it was created by President Goodluck Jonathan as part of the SURE-P initiative which has provided jobs for thousands of Nigerian youths.
He said there is no truth in the allegations that the Task Force is a band of political thugs recruited to prosecute the 2015 election, saying such claims was aimed at causing violence and confusion.
He said “The officers recruited by the Federal Task Force are not thugs, but unemployed graduates and adults looking for a means of livelihood and they all appreciated that the empowerment is already yielding fruits.” He wondered why the Federal Government has not ejected them from its premises at the old toll gate site if they were illegal.
He said arrangements are almost concluded to have President Jonathan inaugurate the Federal Task Force and deploy them to all federal roads across the country.
“This would be perfected in a matter of weeks. What we are all waiting for is the necessary basic support from the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Security (DSS), the Civil Defence and all other security agencies to work with the newly established body,” Rafiu-Otto said.[The Nation]