Lagos may sue FG over illegal placement of political adverts, deployment of Federal Task Force

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The Lagos State government has formally complained to President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged confusion instigated on Lagos roads by Federal Task Force and arbitrary placement of political adverts in the State without respect for existing laws.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr.Ade Ipaye, who briefed reporters yesterday on the development said that last Thursday, unknown men in black uniform, under the aegis of the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme/ Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (SURE-P/FERMA) task force, forcefully took over traffic control at the old toll gate end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. With them were four armed policemen.

Governor Babatunde Fashola, in a letter to the President, alleged that the recent deployment of personnel of the task force on Lagos roads created chaos all over.

He said the men proceeded to intimidate officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to vacate the axis.

He said: “We have made a series of complaints in the past and on one of such occasions when police personnel were attacked (by the task force), the police made some arrests and since then, we are yet to see a stoppage to this unlawful act.

“These men (Federal Task Force) have no terms and conditions known to us, whether they are paramilitary force created by statute; whether they have a code of conduct or regulation that guides what they can do; whether they can arrest, detain and seize vehicles, among others, that are regulated by the law.”

Continuing, he said: “The law that guides this group is totally unknown and they pose a serious risk to the people of Lagos. That is why we are particularly concerned.

“We want to urge a re-consideration by all the agencies concerned, and to stress the importance of maintaining law and order no matter what else is going on in the public. We, therefore, call on the FRSC, the Corp Marshal and the Minister of Transport and Works to call FERMA to order on the paintings, while the Federal Government ensures that the illegal task force group is removed from Lagos.”

On the painting of road kerbs in the green-white-green national colours,Transportation Commissioner Kayode Opeifa also at the briefing said this is contrary to the international best practices and national highway code of white and black colours for visibility by road users.

His words: “Best practice requires two contrasting colours of white and black or yellow and black. We believe the exercise is aimed to show federal might and intimidate the people of Lagos State. They must call FERMA to order. If we want to begin the use of green-white, then let us institutionalise it and begin to use it nationally. It should not be reserved only for Lagos”

Managing Director of the Lagos State Advertisement Agency (LASAA), George Noah, said that the agency would soon head to the courts to challenge the indiscriminate placement of political advertisements without regard for established rules and norms.

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