Thursday, May 24, 2012

EVEN IF THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT IS TEMPTING, THE STICK LOOKS MORE STIFF THAN TEMPTING


Have you heard – that the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government are all out to clean up our roads? I was reading a piece concerning the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and thought, waoh, this is a master stroke.

It is highly tempting we agree for our truck drivers to park on these roads because they have easy access to the ports and other destinations. The cost though of these actions can tell insidiously on businesses. So both arms of government decided recently to start tidying up the roads in Lagos.

The first act they have done is to give the truckers ultimatum to vacate those roads. These will not stop roadblocks at all but at least will go a long way in limiting the causes of go-slows, as we call it here in Lagos, and road congestion. The casual reader would ask – how long will that vacating last? Not for long. They will be back. It happens all the time. So, in her wisdom, the Federal Government decided to deal these truckers a master stroke.

SIGN AN UNDERTAKING OF GOOD BEHAVIOR

Ask them to sign an undertaking that the act will not be repeated.

Although one doubts the constitutionality of such an undertaking, but it is still legal if both parties agree to it. What it does is place a charge on committing the act of parking on those roads ‘in the future’, like a sword of Damocles. Even if the truckers think they can resume the status quo when the government turns the other eye, the threat of a charge from an undertaking is too strong to disregard. It gives the government the right to carry out punitive measures against them arbitrarily – because they have agreed to it.

Because this charge is placed ‘in the future’, the truckers for the meantime will act as if they impute these charge into the cost of their business and since every business wants to make profit, they’d rather obey the law than break it. In a country where breaking the law is the norm, it is not the norm that you can be asked to pay for breaking the law unconstitutionally.

That is the risk of an undertaking. It gives the government the right to even carry out vendetta actions on these truckers who are usually carrying goods for oil companies.

That is why I call it a master stroke.


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