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Lagos begins seizure of abandoned vehicles dotting streets, roads July 1, warns owners

The Lagos State Government has concluded arrangements for the immediate removal and destruction of all abandoned and disused vehicles distorting the aesthetics of the environment and constituting a nuisance on the streets.

Currently, the state boosts of the highest number of abandoned vehicles dotting every nook and crannies of the state either popular streets or minor ones, posing security and aesthetic threats.

Details gathered from the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Central Business Districts, Hon. Agboola Dabiri, while inaugurating the Abandoned Vehicles’ Removal Committee in Alausa, said that the traffic menace caused by abandoned vehicles has become a source of concern for the government and government has no other option than to handle the menace once and for all.

According to the Lagos State government, it will begin evacuation of abandoned, disused vehicles and tricycles littering the state from July 1, 2017.

Dabiri said “In furtherance of its spirited effort to make Lagos State cleaner, healthier and more liveable, the Lagos State Government has established a special task force for the removal of abandoned and disused vehicles and tricycles littering the state.

“Similarly, the state government has appointed a vehicular scrap collection agent in line with Section 56, sub-section (1), of the Lagos State Harmonised Environmental Law, 2017, whose activity will commence from Saturday, July 1, 2017.

“Consequently, Lagosians are hereby notified of the operational procedure of the task force as follows: pasting of removal notice stickers on identified abandoned vehicles with a seven-day period for self-removal by owners of the vehicle. Upon expiration of the grace period, identified abandoned vehicles will be removed by the taskforce to a designated depot within the state.

“Where such vehicles are unclaimed within 30 days, the vehicles will be forfeited to the government and undergo proper disposal accordingly. The general public is hereby advised to comply strictly with this directive while security agencies are urged to ensure compliance.”

However, many have viewed this directive with scepticism, noting that several moves in the past to the state of abandoned vehicles did not yield any long-term result.

In July 2009, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)  issued a threat to owners of abandoned and broken-down vehicles and other objects disturbing the flow of traffic on roads nationwide to remove them or face prosecution and forfeiture, if they were evacuated by the FRSC. But years after, obstructions are still being caused by these vehicles, with many lives put in danger.

The uncanny habit of indiscriminate abandonment of vehicles also made the Lagos State government, in January 2013, to re-echo an earlier ultimatum that all abandoned and disused vehicles would be evacuated from streets or impounded. This was also mainly as a security measure to prevent miscreants from planting explosives in them. Subsequently, a committee on abandoned vehicles was inaugurated and charged with the responsibility of removing the vehicles from all Lagos roads.

Then, owners of abandoned vehicles, especially on Lagos Mainland, were given a three-day ultimatum to remove them.

Actually, there was compliance, as over 4,300 abandoned and disused vehicles were removed. With time, however, about 4,632 vehicles were discovered to have found their way back to over 9,100 roads in the state.

Commissioner for transportation, Kayode Opeifa, while speaking on the development, had noted that: “It is equally sad that as soon as we completed the removal exercise in Surulere Local Government, working in conjunction with the CDCs and the local government chairman, some vehicles were back on the roads, especially on Cole Street, Shifawu Street and Ayilara/Clegg area. These vehicles are veritable tools for hoodlums, miscreants, armed robbers and other forms of social vices. Also, they pose a health risk to residents.”

As it stands right now, most streets in Lagos have metamorphosed into a nest for abandoned vehicles, most of the vehicles having been dumped there by mechanics that have turned the road to their auto workshop. Many access roads in the state are choked with disused cars and could be mistaken for car dumps.

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