No fewer than 5, 000 traffic offenders were arrested and convicted by the Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) Mobile Court within the space of one month.
The Managing Director of the Agency, Hon. Baffa Babba Danagundi said the Agency is also pushing for the amendment of its laws so as to pave way for adopting Community Services as alternative for punishment of traffic offenders in the state.
Danagundi who briefed the Executive members of Kano state Correspondent Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who paid him a courtesy call in his office on Wednesday, mentioned their offences ranges from wrong packing, reckless driving, receiving/making calls while driving, over-speeding, among other related traffic offences.
According to him, within one month, the Agency has been able to sensitize the general public on how to avoid minor traffic offences that usually cause unnecessary gridlock and accidents, which in most cases lead to loss of human lives.
Danagundi further stated that, “as a result of the measures we put in place, since I came in as the Managing Director of KAROTA, the rate of accidents within Kano metropolis has dropped by over 70 per cent.
“This is no joke. This is not a fabricated data. The facts are there even in our hospitals. When I visited some of the hospitals within the state, they confirmed this to me and I am very happy because this feat is due to the re-orientation of our staff who are now fully motivated to work for the interest of the people and our dear Kano state.”
He added that, “to tell you that even the road users are now conscious of the traffic laws, by June this year for instance, we were getting about N5.5 million as fines from traffic offenders, but in July, we were able to receive only N2 million as fine from traffic offenders—this is to tell you that the road users are now abiding by the traffic laws, rules and regulations.”
Danagundi who was the immediate-past Majority Leader in the Kano state House of Assembly said that Agency is seeking to amend its laws, “so as to incorporate community services as punishment for traffic offenders in the state.
“You know, one of the challenges we face is that when you arrest some of these traffic offenders, they will tell you that they don’t have money. KAROTA is not a revenue generation agency per se, what we are really after is for road users to maintain traffic laws.
“So, we want to introduce this community services as a way of punishment so that when you say you don’t have money to pay your fine, you will be assigned to do a community service labour commiserate with the gravity of traffic offence you committed.”
According To him, KAROTA is currently with the staff strength of 2, 400, “what I observed when I came in was that most of the staff don’t come to work. So, what I did is to set up intelligence committee that will be monitoring our staff.
“In most cases, I go out myself to monitor their attendance and punctuality. This measure really improved our productivity because everybody is now on his duty post.
“We also work on eight-hour shift, this is why you can see KAROTA on the road up till 10 P.M. The welfare of the workers are well taking care of. All our vehicles are in order. We receive adequate support from Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. So, the staff and KAROTA officers are committed to their duty and that is why you are witnessing this change.”
The KAROTA boss, however, called on Kano residents and road users to always obey traffic laws, “because it is human life we are talking about here. If all of us do what is right while on the road, KAROTA will have less work to do and the society will be better for it.”