November 3, 2014 – Men of the Federal Taskforce engaged under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) on Monday took over control of traffic in all federal highways across Lagos state, forcing men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to vacate their duty post on these highways.
At least three members of the taskforce were seen around Ketu area as well as the old toll gate, and other areas in Lagos State all dressed in black trousers and black t-shirts.
About 5000 officers had been undergoing rigorous training in the last five months at FERMA yard in the old toll gate, Lagos, fueling apprehension by the Ministry of Transportation on the possibility of the taskforce usurping duties of LASTMA, while the State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) alleged that the Taskforce was being set up to cause chaos in the state ahead of the elections.
Speaking in Lagos, Coordinator SURE-P/FERMA, Mr. Abdulrazaq Rafiu Otto said taskforce has been set up across the 36 states of the federation, without any sinister motive.
“We are not out to cause crisis in Lagos or any of the states in the country. Whatever we are doing is legal and we are bound by the law of the country.
“The question one should ask people making this insinuation is, does the President complain to you that we are doing illegal things here? Does the State Security Service, SSS, complain about our activities? This is a federal government programme for all states. We are not just in Lagos state, but in all the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja”, he said.
Reacting to the development, a resident who lives around Magodo but pleaded anonymity expressed concern about the deployment of the officers on the highway.
“I really feel it’s a duplication of responsibility. They should be deployed to other responsibilities other than traffic control.
“Nevertheless, if they are established under law and if they would coordinate themselves very well, it’s a welcome development. But they also have to be well trained because traffic management in Lagos is not a tea party”, he said.
But a resident who gave his name as Raymond lauded the deployment of the officers saying it has provided jobs for thousands of unemployed youths.
“I see this as a welcome development. The number of persons that troop into the training centre around the old toll gate is alarming. But if they have been engaged and trained, I believe it’s a good development. It has created jobs for about 5,000 persons. It’s commendable”.