- PRESS STATEMENT.
On the 9th of December, 2021, it was once again brought to public glare the gap in the expected professional conduct of some traffic officers of the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Enugu State.
We as concerned Citizens; Youth Groups and Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Enugu State express our concern and dissappointment over an incidence of human right abuse of a helpless citizen by supposed public servants.
An undeniable one minute, thirty two seconds (1:32) video footage showed how a citizen; a tricycle operator was manhandled by personnel of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) who are supposedly traffic officers. There were six (6) officers on uniform at the scene of the incidence. Five (5) officers among them were seen manhandling the tricycle operator until he fell to the ground and became motionless.
The officers, seeing his condition then decided to leave him lying helplessly on the ground under the scorching sun as they try to tow his tricycle away. This act is capable of inciting mass mob action by the citizens if unchecked in the future.
The incidence occurred in front of First Bank Plc and Bon Sunshine Hotel on the Presidential Road axis, and eye witnesses abound.
Having viewed the video clip repeatedly and closely analysed it, we were further disappointed in the approach employed by these officers who in the guise of managing traffic situation in their bits, end up extorting and abusing the human rights of road users especially commercial transporters.
Enugu State Ministry of Transport (MOT) Traffic Enforcement Bureau was established by the past administration in 2004, through the Road Traffic Law, S.86 CAP 137, Vol. VI Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria, 2004 Enugu State Road Traffic (Approved Traffic Offences, Penalties and Fine) and has been in operation since then.
Its personnel are empowered and saddled with the responsibility to ensure a decent, civilized and effective management of traffic rules and regulations in the state. But due to the increasing urge and tendencies of traffic officers on duty to victimize road users, the guarantee of a refined and robust traffic management system has been scuttled.
We take authority from other publications in the public domain bothering on this same subject matter to amplify our voices on this creeping rot in the governance structure of the state of the coal City. Such publications as the ones below clearly reveals that this has been an age long concern:
While there are notable and exceptional officers among these lots, we further celebrate the officer mentioned in this publication with the interest of inspiring other officers to brace up to the true standards, ethics and code of conduct of the Civil Service:
We also recognise the genuine efforts that the state government has made on the need to strengthen the capacity of the traffic officers:
To our governor Sir, in a bid to inspire increased confidence in the people of the state, on your unwavering stance on peace and justice, we hereby make the following demands please:
✓ That the identity and actual offence of the tricycle operator in question be made known to the public through an official statement by the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
✓ That the health condition of the tricycle operator be monitored closely for now, as it was reliably gathered that he was eventually taken to the hospital for medical attentions.
✓ That these officers should be identified and punished for highhandedness in their law enforcement.
✓ That the Ministry should make provisions for signages stating none parking areas within the metropolis rather than leave it to the imaginations of motorists on where and where not to park. It is important we also take to consideration that some of the bus stops sited at some busy areas of the metropolis do not serve all motorists at once hence the need to park elsewhere at that material time.
✓ That the traffic officers should desist from their selective administration of justice. Let there be a uniformed approach to administering whatever punitive measures arises from a traffic offence.
✓ That the traffic officers MUST desist from beating traffic lights as they’re not backed by law to break the law at will. Even in the cause of chasing a traffic offender, the traffic laws must be upheld by those enforcing it, else it becomes a damning and hypocritical contradiction.
✓ That a citizen’s support centre should be established and call lines made available for the public to refer their concerns before it escalates.
✓ That the Ministry should adopt and intensify new measures in sensitizing citizens on traffic laws. CSOs, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and Community Based Social Development Organizations (CBOs) can be partnered with to achieve this in a sustainable scale.
Dear Governor, your swift intervention and response to this call, could prevent a proposal for a controversial Peace Walk as we have seen elsewhere, as a way of saving the face of the state when things fall apart!
God bless your good office
God bless Enugu State
1. Comrade Ozor Ugonna Kingsley
Rural Engagement & Development Foundation (REDFoundation)
2. James Ugochukwu
African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development (ACEIDEV)
3. Onyinyechi Mamah
Heroine Women Foundation
4. Chukwuma Ephraim Okenwa (CEO)
LEAD NETWORK AFRICA
5. Busaosowo Bisong Esq.
_Human Right Lawyer and Executive Director_
6. Keneolisa N. Ogbuzuru
_Head Of Programs_
Agents Of Communication and Development (A-CODE)