Unknown to many, this act is unlawful. Many motorist and well-meaning individuals have taken these agencies to court over these fines and unlawful impound of vehicles. And in most of the cases, the courts’ judgement is always against the traffic watch and control agencies. And the court awards damages to the victims.
Here is an example one of these cases; In 2011, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has declared that Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, lacks the power to impose fine on traffic offenders while Delivering judgment in a suit filed by Mr. Jonathan Odutola. The judge also awarded Five hundred thousand Naira (N500,000) against LASTMA. The judge declare that LASTMA imposing fines and impounding cars is would amount to being a judge in your own case. The court declared that it is only a court that has the power to impose fines or impound cars.
The situation above brought the need for the creation of the mobile courts. With the mobile court in place, LASTMA and other traffic watch and management agencies in Lagos state can arrest any traffic offender and have them tried in front of a judge in the mobile courts and the necessary punishment imposed without breaking the law.
With the mobile court in place, traffic offenders in Lagos is in for a very tough time.