Requiem For Lagos State MOT Taskforce

Requiem For Lagos State MOT Taskforce
Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation


One peculiar trait with most government policies is the absence of integrity of purpose. In most cases, the policies are conceived on political grounds and are hurriedly implemented to gain the desired political attention. A number of these policies lack proper planning and adequate manpower to drive them.

Expectedly not long after they are initiated and implemented, they either die naturally or begin to function contrary to ethical and professional guidelines. In the end, it is a mere scratch on the surface as such situations intended to be addressed end up worse, as the drivers of the process become the very problems themselves.

The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation enforcement team tagged, MOT Taskforce is one of such policy designed mainly as an avenue for reckless government extortion. An initiative claimed by government as a measure for addressing indiscriminate parking of vehicles and wrong usage/abuse of traffic laws.

Unfortunately, the menace created by MOT Taskforce has further compounded the challenges that Road users encounters on daily basis. Their operational style has caused several heated arguments that led to various degrees of crises and in some cases resulting in the loss of human lives. The current ban is not the first time that the Taskforce will be placed on a suspension, once there is any reason for political permutations again, it will resurface or suppressed with the same method of operations and yields no result but scar on the side of the masses.

Few days ago, the Lagos state government through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation; Sola Giwa announced an indefinite ban on the operations of MOT Taskforce, an indication that the project has failed to meet up with the expected results as usual.

While government seems to hinge its decision on the jamboree of the Taskforce’s activities conflicting with existing agencies like Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), it is obvious that the unprofessional ways and public outbursts of the danger they constituted might be the major reason for their disbandment.

Either way, it is a reflection of the disingenuousness of the project in the first place. An initiative should address the motive for which it was created and there should be far reaching results for the resources committed on such project. A thorough appraisal should be done; guidelines distinctively spelt out and operational scope designed for efficiency and effectiveness. In such instances, frictions would have been eliminated. In the area where one agency needs to collaborate and complement another, the procedures will also be well articulated to the understanding of every stakeholder. Similarly, those involved should have been trained and equipped with whatever that is necessary to achieve set goals. When the right things are done, the aim of the initiatives will not only be achieved, it will last long enough until a better option takes it place.

However, that seems not to be the case in Nigeria across boards and the implications have been abandoned projects and wasteful resources. The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation should have worked closely with existing agencies, train them in particular in areas that it urgently wants to tackle and equip them appropriately.

The MOT Taskforce certainly did not achieve anything primarily because it is never designed to. In 2018, a van belonging to the Taskforce killed three people in Mushin area when it clashed with a commercial motorcyclist. Also in 2020, two people met their untimely death in the hands of the Taskforce at Abule Egba area and this subsequently triggered a clash between National Union of Road Transport workers (NURTW) and the Taskforce. In July, a man visiting Lagos State for the first time was hit by a stray bullet from a police attached to the Taskforce.

The story of the MOT Taskforce is a story of a failed project that only succeeded in bringing pain and tears to Lagos citizens while the actors fed fat on the people’s misery. It is one of the many political settlements and decisions where funds are spent unwisely.

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