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Nigerian Military Officers & Traffic Rules – Who Has More Authority?

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Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has been commended for accosting two military officers yesterday who were driving on the lane reserved for the Bus Rapid Transit buses.

The Governor’s convoy was supposedly driving past along the same time Colonel Ki Yusuf was driving on the dedicated BRT lane illegally. He was driving an Army Green Peugeot 406 with registration number BO1-150 NA at the Outer Marina in Central Lagos. Another officer, Staff Sergeant Adeomi A.J. drove in a black Toyota Camry on the BRT lane.

News reports say that he later ordered their arrest. Surely, the confrontation must have been embarassing for the Military officer.

I kinda like what Governor Fashola did too. Most Governors in Nigeria would have just looked the other way and not accost the man. But he got down from his car and did that out in the open.

Realizing that the game was up, Colonel Yusuf came down from his car, saluted severally and kept muttering “I am sorry, very, very sorry”, with the Governor enquiring why, as a senior military officer, Yusuf would choose to break the law instead of preserving it.

Governor Fashola later said, “I don’t use the BRT lane, I sit down in traffic and I expect everyone who wants to drive his car to do the same. The alternative is to use the bus. The bus is for those who cannot afford to buy cars. They have the right also to use the road and we cannot encroach on that lane which we have reserved for them. This is democratisation of the road and I will defend it.”

Hopefully, this would serve as a deterrent to other military officers.

And speaking about military officers, there is something I’ve noticed on the streets of Lagos twice in recent times and I really don’t know how to make sense of it.

It happened that a commercial bus driver hit the car of a military officer, slightly I must add without any major dent to the vehicle, and the military officer simply got out of his car and ordered the bus conductor to bring out his spare tyre from the bus and put it inside the boot of his car. And then he drove off.

This happened twice, within a space of a few weeks around Maryland, Ikeja.

When I discussed it with a friend of mine, he said it was now the norm among military officers. Instead of getting into arguments with bus drivers when they hit their vehicles, they simply take the spare tyre and probably use the money gotten from selling it to fix their vehicles.

Now what do we call this? Use of power? Abuse of power? Power of a military uniform? It just doesn’t sit right with me.

There should be other ways of punishing the offender or getting him to pay for his mistakes? It’s not that I think the bus drivers are right, it’s more like what would a ‘non-uniformed’ person do if he was caught in a similar situation? Shout, argue, and then go back into his car because he has no right to take the bus driver’s spare tyre.

Let’s discuss this. Do you think military officers in the country abuse the powers of their ranks when driving? Do they sometimes act like they have more authority than the rules or the people who set the rules?

What do you think about Governor Fashola’s action? Is it commendable? Please share your thoughts.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

25 Comments

  1. Kify

    July 18, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Serves him right! Nice 1

  2. pynk

    July 18, 2012 at 8:13 am

    the military has lost understanding of their role in Nigeria, they forget that officers are supposed to be “gentlemen” while Non-commisioned officers are supposed to be “soldiers on the battlefield”. Blame it on years of dictatorship and the general populace’s acceptance of status quo.

  3. Princess of Zion

    July 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Commendable of Gov Fashola!!

    Blue print for a successful courtship- http://princessofzion.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/courtshipwhat-is-it-how-do-i-do-it-right/

  4. Amazeballs!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

    ofcourse it is commendable!

  5. Hughmick

    July 18, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Commendable from gov. Fashola!
    But the military guys sometimes bring sanity to our roads,the fear of the uniform by civilians. Make commercial bus drivers drive more carefully, Went they see dis guys. But these military guys sometimes take it to d extreme.

  6. neon

    July 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    #allnawash

  7. Tobechidaniel

    July 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Give the man his due. He should be commended for stepping our of his car and standing by his word. But knowing Nigerians, lets not run away with the commendations now. He did what was expected of him as a public official. Let’s hope he continues to do more.
    http://tobechidaniel.blogspot.com/

  8. Me2me

    July 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Nicely done

  9. Dumexfranklin

    July 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Think d military office hv abuse d power n d prelivage been giving to them n what d gov’t did ur righ.. kudos.. N dis should be a point of correctin to others so call officers…

  10. contain

    July 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Well done BRF, they are meant to protect not galavanting about…

  11. Theodora

    July 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Nice one….love this man anytime anyday.

  12. CA

    July 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I respect Governor Fashola. Why will people in uniform disobey the laws of the land and yet want to penalize ordinary citizens of the same? I wish we would have more governors like Fashola in Nigeria. Well done governor Fashola!

  13. LPS

    July 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

  14. Adebola Oriola

    July 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I shall be doing my best, to see that Fashola is given a green light to govern Nigeria – in the nearest future. Anyone sharing the same thought?

  15. Sam

    July 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Its okay if the Gov choose to use his powers as the Cheif Executive of The state to correct the situation, but let me quickly say that it no guarantee for someone to stand up and say afterall we are in democracy, so he can arrest a military man for braking the law. see they ll (military) beat the hell out of you.

  16. babs oluwatoyin

    July 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    It’s time we all have to do things right. Anyway, no one is above the law, whether you are dressed in khaki or tarpaulin. More scapegoats lie within the undisciplined police.
    Thumbs up BRF!

  17. mikel

    July 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Well i must say dat fashola is very right in his action,the vast members of nigerian military are horible,i ve witness dis on a countless occation in dis country,in a situation where by if u get an altercation wit military man,then u will be drag tp barrack and tortured,somtimes get permanent injury or even get killed,i think nigerian military are nt discipline nd well trained.

  18. klaw

    July 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    i support u BRF….byebye 2 military abuse and welcome 2 rule of law…clearly depicts dat no 1 is truly above d law!!!

  19. oluwagbenro

    July 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Well good job to the governor but their are many others who also drove along this BRT line especially the so call high rankin politician ,for example when the first lady of this country visited lagos there were so much traffic dat some of the escout went along this BRT line in other to meet up with the first lady so where is governor then ?I we should be careful with the way we treat thing in our country .this same people the ordered the arrest are fighting for the security of the STATE so I think the still demand some respect afterall the officer as appologise the governor should atleast give honour to our Nigeria Army

  20. Truth Teller

    July 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Gov. Fashola , we need you in Abuja ASAP to curb all the madness from bully (sorry, bullion vans), stupid siren blaring convoys e.t.c. Commendable in every way. Way to go Sir!

  21. cathy

    July 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    correct governor

  22. Ola

    July 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Forget Naija leaders they are hypocrite what did he do when Dame Jonathan hold lagos to ransom imagine if it was the chief of defence staff would he have stopped his convoy,we understand the fact that military officers breaklaws but we should also understand their sacfrice i was suprise when the nation ambassador pay compliments to the generals but am sure our service chiefs worship gorvernors it all boils out to 1 thing ‘corruption’

  23. kaycee

    July 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    For christ sake,despite the fact that we are running a democratic government,i dont think Gov Fashola’s action was the best.These are people who sacrifice their lives everyday for the nation.I’m not saying what the army officer did was right but the gov shouldnt have taken it to that level.Its not encouraging at all.We civilians sit at home while these uniform men go to the field.We dont know what they suffer there.At least they should have some privileges.If you go to most of these developed countries,veterans are given certain privileges.I dont support the govs actions at all.Its not encouraging.

  24. MEE

    July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Kaycee are u for real? Was he on his way to fight for d peace of dis nation befor BRF cot him? He did a wrong thing for pits sakes!!! Wich battle field are u talking about? D last time I checked der was no war in Lagos wen d soldier was cot.Who cares if he is dying for d country sef? Haven’t u heard of people gunned down in dia various lines of duties for Nigeria? How many of dia families were compensated? N how many of dem decided to break RULES cos dia brother or sister or husband was killed in the line of duty? N so shuld be pardoned, BRF did d right thing ojare, call it wateva, if na me I for humiliate d guy reach d level wey I fit to, to serv as deterant to oda fools in uniform, don’t let me start with you on how wicked n foolish lots of men in uniform have been.

    • Attitude

      July 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      And if u humiliate him the way u just said the guy would’ve beaten u bad,and the Army authority won’t sanction him cos u started the humiliation.Even in Democracy,the Military is only under the president alone!

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