Public Hearing: Stakeholders Urge Kogi Govt to Scrap Traffic Management Agency, KOTRAMA

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  • KOTRAMA Generated N11.1Million Between April 2021 and August 2022 – Commissioner

Stakeholders have in separate memoranda reviewed the activities and the legality of Kogi State Traffic Management Authority (KOTRAMA) and concluded that the law establishing the agency be repealed and reenacted.

This came to fore at a public investigation carried out at the hallowed chambers of Kogi State House of Assembly.

In his opening speech, Barr Cosmas Atabor, who stood in as the acting Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, said the investigation was meant to review the activities and constitutionality of the activities or constitutional provision of the agency, to correct all abnormalities.

The committee examined 25 areas of the agency ‘s constitutional provisions which include the law establishing it, the Constitution, power to control traffic, trial and imposition of fines on traffic offenders, amongst others.

Speaking to his memorandum during public investigation, a legal luminary, Barr Bamidele Suru, said it was not a matter of criticising the agency but how government runs well.

He accused of duplicating the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) functions imposing fines on traffic offenders and generating revenues.

He submitted that the state could legislate more on it since it was not a bad law that should be thrown away but “must be repealed and reenacted or reintroduced in the state House of Assembly”.

“KOTRAMA is not a judicial organisation to perform judicial functions, therefore it cannot impose fines, unless there’s a mobile court to hear the other person’s view on any offence.

“Taking a cue from LASTMA, which the Court of Appeal ruled that it has no authority to impose fine, KOTRAMA should not be seen making the same mistake or flouting that judgment,” he warned.

He said KOTRAMA had its functions but abandoned it and that the law should be subjected to legal scrutiny because “we need to expunge all the problematic areas from the law”.

Mr Idris Ozovehe, chairperson of Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), who aligned with Suru’s submission, queried why revenue generation had been prioritised than the safety that it was designed for.

According to him, private vehicle owners are being harrassed even when the agency is only proposed in law and not yet in existence.

“Looking at Schedule 22 of the proposed law with which it is arresting and convicting traffic offenders, there is no record of the total number of convictions.

“Today, everyone points to KOTRAMA as being capable of igniting security challenge in the state with its faulting and embarrassing activities,” he warned.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Baron Okwoli, said the law was signed for the growth of the state.

Baron admitted that Kogi had a peculiar case of being at the cross roads over the agency.

He, however, disagreed that the staff of KOTRAMA are wrongly dressed, adding that the agency has generated eleven million, one hundred naira from April 2021 to August 2022.

Baron Okwoli insisted that even though the staff needed to be trained, a lot of vehicle users actually did wrong.

The Chief Vehicle Officer of the state, Mr Dauda aligned with the Commissioner but added that anything that can cause problem must be avoided. He agreed that the law should have human face.

Representative of Kogi Attorney General, a legal officer, AD Bello, appreciated the Assembly for the public hearing. He opined that the Assembly has the power to enact such laws to the extent that it provides for safety. However, he submitted that the law has not taken power away from those of the FRSC.

Bello equally agreed that there is no document that is perfect, hence the need for review at intervals.

Representative of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Kogi state branch, adopted in Barr Dele Suru’s memo it totality, adding that the House has a duty to perform and that the public has the right to complain against obnoxious law.

He submitted that there should be fair hearing when the law is seriously in conflict with the constitution of Nigeria and other sister agencies.

He also said the staff of the agency are not trained but only concerned with generation of revenue.

He counseled that the law be looked into and reenacted to meet the yearnings of the people.

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