The Lagos State Government has commenced the release of impounded vehicles to their owners free of charge without payment of fines.

The gesture by the state government was due to the naira scarcity that has hit most parts of the country following the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This was made known on Tuesday by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde while briefing the press in Lagos.

Oladeinde said the exercise commenced last Saturday and is still ongoing, noting that the state government made the decision as a measure to ease the cash crunch on its citizens.

Gesture for minor traffic offences

The commissioner noted that vehicles that were impounded for minor traffic offences would be released to their owners and fines waived.

He said,

  • There are some people that committed offences during that period and we understand the fact that money wasn’t easy to come by.
  • “Looking at the governor’s magnanimity, the governor has deemed it fit to ensure that people who committed crimes within that period and wanted to pay or couldn’t pay as a result of the shortage of cash, should come and pick up their cars and he has waived the fines.
  • “Mind you, that does not include major crimes committed. These are just minor traffic offences that have been committed in Lagos and this is showing empathy and trying to understand that look, we understand how difficult it has been and it is not a reason for us to stop you from making ends meet and so hence the governor’s magnanimity.
  • “All those who have committed a crime within that period should come and pick up their cars, that doesn’t mean people should continue to offend and so right now, what we are doing is to caution them not to commit the offence again.”

Initial palliative measures by the state government

Oladeinde recalled that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had earlier introduced palliative measures to cushion the effect of the naira redesign policy on residents in the state by slashing public transport fares by 50%.

The commissioner further stated, “When you look at what the governor proposed, especially during the cash crunch period, we have reduced public transport fares by 50 per cent. So when you go on our BRTs and all the Lagos state-funded public transport, including Lag Ride, we have reduced the fare by 50 per cent just to alleviate the suffering of our people.

  • “Apart from that, moving away from transport, we have opened up food banks in certain areas. So we’re beginning to give out palliative just to ensure that people get through this cash crunch period.
  • “We’re happy that APC has won at the national level and we are beginning to see some of these policies being reversed.
  • “So we’re hoping that in a short time, life would return back to normal.”

For the record

  • Earlier on February 8, 2023, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced a 50% transport fare reduction on all Lagos State Public Transport System through the cowry card system.
  • The transport fare cut is being enjoyed on all BRT buses, the LAGRIDE taxi scheme, first-mile and last-mile buses and Lagos ferry services.
  • Recall that in September 2022, the Lagos state government auctioned vehicles forfeited to the state over traffic violations.
  • During the auctioning, motorists faced with the reality of permanently losing their vehicles were seen crying.
  • This sparked some angry reactions both on social media and on the streets as they argued that the auctioning of forfeited vehicles over traffic violations was harsh.