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LASTMA has no power to impose fines – court

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An Ikeja High Court has ruled that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) lacks the powers to impose fines and tow vehicles of motorists suspected to have committed traffic offences.

Justice Olalekan Oresanya, in a suit instituted by a motorist, Mr. Lawal Aliyu against LASTMA, Lagos State Government, and the Attorney General, held that it was unconstitutional for LASTMA to impose fines and tow vehicles of alleged traffic offenders without a valid court order.

Aliyu filed the matter to contest 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 narrowed down the issues in the matter to three and resolved all in favour of the applicant (Aliyu), relying on Sections 34, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), among others.

On issue one regarding the question of whether the obstruction, towage, seizure, and impoundment of the applicant’s car with Registration No. AGL 93 DW on the 23rd November 2021 by LASTMA was unlawful, the court ruled that from the available evidence, the respondents failed to establish any fact to justify their action and that there was no part of the Lagos State Traffic Management Law (2018) that permits the derogation of the applicant’s right to freedom of movement.

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Justice Oresanya held: “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, which is the grundnorm;

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 rights of citizens as embodied in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) 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,” the judge held.

On the second issue regarding the fine and towing fee imposed on the applicant, the court said a careful perusal of Section 27 (1) b, c, d and e of Traffic Management Law relied upon by the respondents revealed that LASTMA cannot impose fine without arraigning an alleged traffic offender in court, adding that it amounted to ignoring fair hearing and being a judge in one’s case.

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The court lampooned LASTMA for the practice of forcefully towing vehicles of alleged traffic offenders, saying it is the height of oppression.

He held: “I must add that it is strange and bizarre that the 1st Respondent (LASTMA) towed a serviceable vehicle in good working condition and thereby cause damage to the vehicle in the process when it has not been established that the Applicant resisted the arrest of his vehicle, only for the 1st Respondent to subsequently impose a fine on the Applicant for a service not solicited by the Applicant. To my mind, this is the height of oppression and impunity and it is condemnable.”

On issue three as to whether the applicant was entitled to compensation and damages for breach of his fundamental rights, the court said having resolved issues one and two in favour of the applicant, it follows that the applicant is naturally entitled to damages in compensation.

“On the whole, I give judgment for the Applicant in the following terms; I make a declaration that the obstruction, towage, seizure, and impoundment of the Applicant’s car with Registration NO. AGL 93 DW on the 23rd November 2021 by the Respondents is unlawful, illegal, and unconstitutional as same amounted to gross violation of the Applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of movement enshrined in Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (band amended).

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“I make a declaration that the imposition and enforcement of LASTMA fine in the sum of N20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand Naira) and LASTMA Towing fine in the sum of N10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) on the Applicant without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction is unlawful, Illegal and is null and void and the said fines should be paid back by the Respondents to the Applicant.

“The sum of N750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) compensatory damages is awarded against the Respondents for the violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights,” the court held.

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Registrar: John Lyon not UNICAL graduate

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The University of Calabar, UNICAL, on Wednesday said that the alleged kidnapper, John Ewa, popularly called “John Lyon” was not a graduate of the institution.

A statement issued in Calabar by the Registrar of the institution, Mr Gabriel Egbe, said that the university’s management stumbled on the media report with dissatisfaction and described it as fallacious.

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Recall that Ewa was arrested in connection with kidnapping activities by the Bayelsa Police Command and was subsequently paraded before the media.

“The said John Ewa was never a student of the university, neither did he graduate from the institution.

“We urge members of the public to discountenance any information linking John Ewa to our prestigious university,” Egbe said in the statement.

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Gunmen attack police station in Oyo

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Gunmen have attacked the Igangan Police station in the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.

Newsmen gathered that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Adebowale Williams, and his men are at the scene of the attack as of the time of filing this report.

Please go to Xtra.net for breaking news, videos, and the latest top stories in Nigeria & world news, business, politics, sports and pop culture.

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The incident happened last night with reports suggesting that a Divisional Crime Officer and a suspect who was in detention were killed in the process.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, had earlier confirmed the incident, saying the CP was on his way to the affected police station.

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Ibarapa has been in the news over clashes between farmers and herders.

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Rally: Court orders Peter Obi’s supporters not to converge at Lekki toll gate

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Labour Party and its supporters not to converge at the Lekki toll gate for its #Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally billed to hold on the 1st of October, 2020.

The court also directed the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with the order.

Please go to for breaking news, videos, and the latest top stories in Nigeria & world news, business, politics, sports and pop culture.

Justice Daniel Osiagor made these orders today while ruling on a motion for injunction brought by 10 plaintiffs, who are asking the court to, among others, restrain the LP, its presidential candidate Peter Obi, his vice Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, one Julius Abure and their loyalists from holding the rally.

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The court also held that the while the rally cannot stop at the Lekki toll gate, it can pass through the venue to access Falomo Bridge and other venues at which the rally plans to meet.

A preliminary objection filed by the defendants seeking to stop the court from hearing the motion on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction could however not been entertained as all parties to the suit had not been served.

The court adjourned hearing of the substantive suit to Nov 4th.

In the suit, 10 plaintiffs through their Romeo Ese Michael, Esq. are asking the court to, among others, restrain the LP, its presidential candidate Peter Obi, his vice Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, one Julius Abure and their loyalists from holding the rally, until the hearing and determination of their Motion-On-Notice of September 12, 2022.

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The plaintiffs are Adedotun Ajulo Esq., Salamatu Suleiman Lewi Esq., Hakeem Ijaduola, Esq., Ogunbona Akinpelu Esq., Owolabi K. Oluwasegun, Esq., Mogbojuri Kayode Esq., Wuyep Mantim Nadom Esq., Dimimu Mabel, Esq., Kolawole Salami, Esq. and Mr. Wale Abe Lawrence.

The 1st to 10th defendants are Obi, LP, Baba-Ahmed, Abure, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Lagos State Command), Director-General (Department of State Services), Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited, Attorney-General of Lagos State and The Governor of Lagos State.

In the substantive suit, the plaintiffs are arguing among other things that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will cause a breakdown of peace and will result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.

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