THIS WAS WIDELY REPORTED IN TODAY’S NEWSPAPERS.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos has declared that the state traffic management authority (LASTMA) lacks the power to impose fines on traffic offenders in Lagos.
Delivering judgment in the suit filed by Jonathan Ademola Odutola, Justice Abang, while nullifying Sections 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the law establishing LASTMA, also declared them unconstitutional and of no effect. The judge consequently awarded the sum of N500,000/= against LASTMA for their actions.
He stated that the four nullified sections were contrary to Section 36 of the Constitution which gives the right of fair hearing to every Nigerian.
He held that while LASTMA has the power to arrest traffic offenders, it did not have the power to impose fines on them, adding that instead, it is the duty of a court of law to impose fine on anybody who contravenes the law.
The judge submitted that the imposition of fine on Odutola by LASTMA amounted to being a judge in its own cause.
“Sections 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the law establishing LASTMA is unconstitutional. It is against the spirit of Section 36 of the Constitution which gives the right of fair hearing to every Nigerian. Moreover, that would amount to being a judge in your own cause,” the judge held.
Odutola through his lawyer, Ola Wilson, had dragged LASTMA to court for unlawfully impounding his car and imposing and slamming an illegal fine on him.
In the suit, he urged the court to nullify some sections of the law establishing LASTMA, arguing that the agency did not have the power to impose a fine on him.
Page 8, This Day newspaper Thursday 22nd September 2011.
BE GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER…
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