Lagos govt begins release of impounded vehicles to owners free of charge
Bola Badmus- Lagos
Lagos State government has commenced the release of impounded vehicles to their owners free of charge due to a cash crunch that has hit the nation following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy.
The move, which commenced last Saturday and is still ongoing, was to scale up the palliative measure, introduced by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu three weeks ago to cushion the effect of the cash crunch brought on the populace by releasing vehicles that were impounded for minor traffic offences to their owners while waving the fines.
The State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, made this known on Tuesday while speaking with newsmen, saying that Governor Sanwo-Olu had extended the palliative measures by ensuring that vehicles impounded for minor traffic offences were returned to their owners with the fines waived.
“When you look at what the governor proposed, especially during the cash crunch period, we have reduced public transport fares by 50%. So when you go on our BRTs and all the Lagos state-funded public transport, including LagRide, we have reduced the fare by 50% just to alleviate the suffering of our people.
“Apart from that, moving away from transport, we have opened up food banks in certain areas. So we’re beginning to give out palliative just to ensure that people get through this cash crunch period.
“We’re happy that APC has won at the national level. And we are beginning to see some of these policies being reversed. So we’re hoping that in a short time, life would return back to normal but in terms of public transport, I think we’ve reduced fare by 50%,” Oladeinde stated.
The commissioner, while noting that vehicle owners who committed minor traffic offences should come and pick up their cars as the governor had waved the fines, however, said those owners who committed major crimes were not included.
This was just as Oladeinde pointedly declared that the magnanimity displayed by Governor Sanwo-Olu “doesn’t mean people should continue to offend.
“Mind you, that does not include major crimes committed. These are just minor traffic offences that have been committed in Lagos and this is showing empathy and trying to understand that look, we understand how difficult it has been and it is not a reason for us to stop you from making ends meet and so hence the governor’s magnanimity.
“All those who have committed the crime within that period should come and pick up their cars, that doesn’t mean people should continue to offend and so right now, what we are doing is to caution them not to commit the offence again.
“After the cash crunch is over, we arrest. What we are doing right now, educating people, like correcting them to just making sure that they don’t commit an offence again, but obviously if you commit a major crime, the law has to take its course,” the commissioner stated.
Meanwhile, Oladeinde said transportation would continue to be the backbone of the state’s economy, positing that policies the government was implementing, had helped to reposition the transportation system in the state.
He said the Sanwo-Olu administration had continued to test-run the Blue Line Rail system, which full operation, according to him, will kick off in April as promised by the governor.
“We are opening up the whole public transport arena so that people can have options. So we’re going to continue to encourage the private sector to bring in more profit.
“We’re trying to move away from diesel which has been very expensive and has made public transportation expenses. So we are now piloting some CAG buses, and over time, we already have investors who want to bring in these buses and that will crash the cost of public transportation. So we’re doing that with LAMATA,” he said.
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