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Are the Penalties for the Lagos State Traffic Law too Harsh? Residents Complain over Fines & Imprisonment for Traffic Offenders



A large percentage of Lagos residents, motorists, commercial motorcyclists, popularly called ‘Okada riders’ and other road users have criticized the newly signed Lagos State Traffic Law as having too harsh penalties for traffic offenders.

The traffic law which was signed by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Thursday August 2nd, 2012 includes a raft of penalties including psychiatric, breath and urine tests, fines and prison terms for traffic offenders in the state.

Most people believe the law is too stringent with high fines and prison terms placed as punishment for offenders.

However, some people have given the kudos to the state government for the bold step to restore sanity on the roads where many lives have been lost due to recklessness.

The Traffic Law which has 59 offences and penalties for each offence covers all road users including private motorists, commercial drivers, commercial motorcyclists and trailer/heavy vehicle drivers.

Here are a few of the offences and their penalties:

Offence Fine Additional
Disobeying Traffic Control Personnel 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Failure to lead to right of way of   pedestrians at a zebra crossing 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Smoking while driving 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Exceeding prescribed speed limit N100,000 Imprisonment for a term of one year or both fine and imprisonment
Tailgating an emergency vehicle 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Assault on a traffic officer (physical) N100,000 Imprisonment for a term of 3 years or both fine and imprisonment
Wrongful overtaking of another vehicle N100,000
Parking on the walkway or kerbs N20,000
Vehicle causing obstruction on the highway if broken down N50,000; cost of towing
Making or receiving phone calls when driving without hands free 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Counting money or otherwise engaged in activities while driving 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000
Driving without a strapped seatbelt for both driver and passengers 1st Offender N20,000, Subsequent Offender   N30,000 Strap on seat belt

What do you think about the laws and their penalties? Are they too harsh or would you give kudos to the Lagos state government for the traffic laws?

For the full list of the traffic laws, click here

Source: Punch

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


  1. damojo

    August 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Naija jail go soon full pass VFS office then!

    • Shogbesan Olufemi

      May 1, 2019 at 5:08 am

      The punishments is just too severe. The traffic laws should be amended. The Lagos state laws should have human face. Many of their officials will surely pay dearly for this because people are ready to kill them rather than pay fine or go to jail….

  2. Princess of Zion

    August 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    If it will promote road safety, that’s fine but they really need to publicise it and ensure that the general populous is well aware and can adapt to the new laws and guidelines!

    Appreciate your spouse this week; it’s the Celebration of Marriage Week!

  3. Winifred

    August 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Making laws are not the problem.its the enforcement that is the issue! Will these laws apply to army officers,policemen etc.or is this one of those laws that apply to civilians only

  4. nich

    August 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    it is really good but there are no camera’s on the street to know all of these………………..they officials are going to judge wrongly………………the amounts are also to much……when the populace is poor………… is really pathetic…..thank God i live in america…..

  5. clairebaby

    August 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    It may seem that these laws are too strict. However, I wish I could invite all of you to the emergency room in any general hospital in lagos, then you would see what I’m seeing.

    I’ve been in the emergency unit for a while now and I can confidently say that 90% of road traffic accidents in lagos are caused by okadas. Infact ever since I started working as a doctor in A & E, I vowed to stop taking okadas & I’ve convinced all my loved ones to do the same.

    Most okada riders are reckless, do not respect traffic rules of anysort and cause more harm than good.

    Yes, I know that okadas get you to your destination faster, but it is better to be late for whatever appointment than to have ‘late’ put before your name. Most RTAs involving okadas are often fatal with the victims suffering from severe traumatic brain injuries.

    I applaud gov fashola for this effort at restoring sanity in lagos state. I hope it will be well implemented.

  6. intheoverseas

    August 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Ok so why are there no laws covering the road worthiness of those useless trailers that are the most hazardous on the roads? hiss

  7. juliet

    August 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    civilians only for sure

  8. Tboy

    August 14, 2012 at 1:47 am

    LASG needs to do it’s bit by providing public parking, road signs, facilitating proper road side assistance for breakdowns and generally implementing a robust public transportation and MOT system, as a narrow focus on punitive measures alone without providing a conducive environment is patently unfair to the public who in some cases will be pushed to the wall? For example, if my car develops a minor fault which in other climes can be easily sorted by a decent road side assistance system which i would have subscribed to upfront, it would be irrational and unfair to slap me with a 50K tow fine.

  9. doyin

    August 14, 2012 at 3:22 am

    [email protected] counting money while driving……I give kudos to the state governor for trying to bring some type of sanity to the residents of Lagos.

  10. LollyDee

    August 14, 2012 at 3:47 am

    What will they do with all the money made from all of these? I just hope they put it to good use like repairing the bad/damaged roads because, there will definitely be offenders. it doesnt make sense to send someone to prison for traffic offense however, failure to pay the traffic offense should serve as punishment for non-payment. Hopefully, it will deter potential offenders!

  11. NNENNE

    August 14, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Good thing don’t come easy. Just hope corruption will not spoil it .

  12. pynk

    August 14, 2012 at 8:08 am

    with the recent case of a LASTMA officials death due to someone’s negligence and disobedience of the law, i would say many of these laws are welcome.

  13. fre

    August 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Yes, yes yes!!!!
    The penalties are too harsh, they don’t make sense.
    A lot of things have to be in place first before they make such laws, or attach such penalties to the laws, haba!
    We do not have the right structure and people in place yet. Our justice system isn’t even up to average standard, too many people will be taken advantage of.
    That’s just the least of the wahala it will cause, a lot more I can’t type now

  14. King David

    August 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

    The law is too harsh and the fines are too much. However, i would appreciate a review of the existing laws on corruption and plead bargaining. that one would guarantee us a better future.

  15. bbb

    August 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

    @wilfred …good talk… seriously ….we can obey the law.what about the police men? soldiers navy men?

  16. mizz

    August 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    All these laws and not one penalty for drunk driving.

  17. YummyMummy

    August 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Please live in the U.K and see how driving laws are implemented.Let us stop been a mediocre,on a rare occassion when driver has accident,and the passenger gets injured,he automatically goes to court because life is involved,the driver might end up going to jail,if the lawyer is good,then he gets punished by doing community work which is supervised,he doesnt pay for any one to do that for him,he does it.

    I honestly tell you that you hardly think of accident happening on any UK transportation,i am not saying they are perfect..but i know I am always in the mood of prayer when any of my family in nigeria travel round Nigeria why? because a 15 year old can pick up a car one day and drive in as much the daddy can afford to buy her a car,no driving lesson and no proper Law,An average Nigeria thinks if his car is faulty God can touch till it gets to its destination.

    Drivers having in mind to make N50,000 a day,if they havent made that amount by 1pm,if service comes at 10pm,they dont mind risking form Abuja to Lagos…so many things wrong with our system..sometimes i just weep for my nation…innocent people dying every day,nothing seems to be done,people in goverment are selfish,a government worker/wanna be politician buliding a mighty mansion in 6 months ( yes I know this family)…can build with that with your salary.iweep,Cry for my nation.If law are not implemented and followed rightly,innocent souls will still die..these things can be avoided.

    Note:Bella naija,i just blogged,now I need a job from you.Thanks***smiles***

  18. YummyMummy

    August 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    have accident***

  19. Joy

    August 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Kudos to Lagos State Governor! l will those complianing are the law breakers, you cannot be punish for eg. using ur seat belt, for not counting money or dollar while driving, for not parking on the walkways thereby depriving non car owners from going about their own business. You will only be purnish on doing the opposite, l just wished this laws will be applied in the FCT too. Though l know there will prefer paying money than going to prison. Hahahaha The People’s Gov.

  20. Ernest O

    August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    The law and the penalties have good intention but the penalties are too stringent. All categories of cars and trucks including “okada” are to pay same penalty N20,000 or N30,000. If a traffic officer accuse me of disobeying him, who will verify the truth of the claim, before my vehicle is impounded. Imagine an Okada man being sent to jail for carrying his wife an baby on his bike. What if an assault on traffic officer was provoked by the officer or it was in defense how will the truth be verified.
    Just like what we have with some existing laws that has made the police keep some people in prison for frame up cases, LASTMA officers and other traffic managers have show overbearing attitude in the manner they discharge their duty. This law is harsh

  21. kunle

    September 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Unserious Govt.Dey make rules and their tout who run errand breakj dem.Who are trhey fooling.No Infratsructure to guide the law..They are all Illiterates.Let”s wait and see.

  22. tosin

    September 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    As far as am concern,Gov.Fashola is on point, if this is what it takes to bring sanity back to lagos roads.

  23. tosin

    September 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    My fear now is with all this corrupt police men & Lasma officials, how well can they manage this new traffic laws and not accuse innocent people just to show they have power or to flex their muscles

  24. adebisi olalekan

    September 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    more than one million people ride okada in lagos state n more than two million people feeds from okada buz. is this the way the gov. takes care of his people by taking food frm there mouth. there’s no where in abroad that motorcycle is banned from the highway.

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