The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority says it has arrested over 100 vehicles that violated the social distancing order of the state government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had announced gradual easing of the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja from Monday after five weeks lockdown to contain the spread.
The Lagos State Government consequently issued new transport operational guidelines, which included observance of social distance in vehicles, compulsory use of face masks and others to prevent spread of the virus.
Commenting on the enforcement operations by LASTMA on Tuesday, the General Manager, Olajide Oduyoye, blamed the transport unions’ management for not sensitising their members well.
Oduyoye said: “What we noticed is that the transport unions and bus park managers are not passing the message of maximum of two passengers per row in their buses and that needs to change.
“While we corrected and educated no fewer than 200 drivers on Monday, it gives concern that the citizenry in general were interested in getting to their destinations more than their health and existence.
“They failed to ask themselves real questions: This journey I want to embark upon, what value is it to me or my life? Can it wait? Can it be achieved in order ways than travelling on the road?
“Meanwhile, LASTMA was able to arrest over 100 vehicles, particularly commercial bus operators for violating the physical distance directive of the government.”
According to Oduyoye, the order on the minimum physical distancing in the buses has not sunk into the hearts of the operators.
He said: “It was more unfortunate to see many commuters fighting and arguing that three passengers on a row of danfo (commercial buses) should be allowed, even when the distance between passengers is like four inches only.
“Many parents were also out with their children, without face masks.
“It’s scary to say the least.
“I also noticed private car owners in the spirit of trying to help colleagues carrying three passengers at the rear when the maximum should just be two and four persons in total.”
The LASTMA said though the enforcement was a combination of warnings, education and arrest, it seemed that more arrests had to be made to force people to be serious about the pandemic.
Oduyoye commended all the enforcement officers, urging them to do more to help the state stem the spread of the virus.
He said: “I want to advice the public to continue to fervently support the government in this trying period by maintaining physical distancing at all costs.
“The risk of going about their business over long distance does not just worth it.
“As uncomfortable as it may seem, please wear your face masks at all times.
“Prevention is certainly better than cure.
“Coronavirus is real and it’s all our collective duties to look after ourselves.”