Stakeholders condemn Kogi traffic agency, urge KOTRAMA law repeal
Stakeholders on Monday called for repealing of the law on Kogi State Transport Management Agency (KOTRAMA) following its “questionable” operations.
The calls were made at a public hearing and investigation conducted by the Kogi House of Assembly’s committee on judiciary.
The agency‘s constitutional provisions were examined, including the law establishing it, the constitution, power to control traffic, trial and imposition of fines on traffic offenders, amongst others.
The public hearing, led by the committee’s chairman, Cosmas Atabor, x-rayed KOTRAMA’s activities and its constitutional powers through separate memoranda by the stakeholders to correct all abnormalities.
In his memorandum, a lawyer, Dele Suru, faulted the agency’s style of operation, like the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), by imposing fines on traffic offenders and generating revenues.
“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,” Mr Suru stressed. “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 added that KOTRAMA had its functions but abandoned them and that the law should be subjected to legal scrutiny because “we need to expunge all the problematic areas from the law.”
Idris Ozovehe, a civil rights activist, who aligned with Mr Suru’s submission, queried why revenue generation had been prioritised over safety.
“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,” Mr Ozovehe explained. “Today, everyone points to KOTRAMA as being capable of igniting security challenge in the state with its faulting and embarrassing activities.”
Commissioner for Transportation, Baron Okwoli, admitted that Kogi had a peculiar case of being at the crossroads over the agency.
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