There are levels of lawlessness, but lawlessness is lawlessness. This shouldn’t be news to Arise TV anchor Rufai Oseni who acted lawlessly by driving on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane in Lagos. But his reaction to law enforcers showed he didn’t consider his action lawless.
“I am not a lawbreaker,” he was reported tweeting, on August 1, after getting into trouble for using the special lane. “I saw cars pass through the supposed BRT lane and they were not stopped. All of a sudden I was stopped and told I used the bus lane.
“If I didn’t see other cars I would not go through. Plus I wasn’t conversant with the road. After I was stopped, three cars also passed and nothing was done about them. I will never deliberately break the law.”
What a defence! If indeed he saw other cars on the lane, which were also breaking the law, how does that exculpate him? If indeed the road was unfamiliar to him, how does that make him innocent? Whether it was deliberate or not, he broke the law.
“A Nigerian police officer pointed a gun at me and forcefully took my keys and drove my car off, because he wanted to enforce a traffic infraction,” he tweeted.
Driving unlawfully on BRT lanes in Lagos attracts a fine of N70, 000, and a daily payment of N1, 000 for every day the impounded vehicle is parked in the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) yard.
According to him, he had “offered to pay for the traffic infraction,” but the policeman was “hell bent on forcefully collecting my keys.” “Why point a gun at me and forcefully collect my key?”
He considered the approach unacceptable. He failed to see that he too had done something unacceptable. Oseni didn’t see beyond himself because he didn’t look beyond himself.
If a policeman had pointed a gun at him, it was a case of wrong action and wrong reaction. “I think the police need training and retraining,” he said. He has a point there.
Lagos Police Public Relations Officer Benjamin Hundeyin said: “We’ll sanction the officer who misused firearm if proven.” However, the spokesman faulted Oseni, saying, “You admitted to me that you passed a BRT lane. It’s against the law…You disobeyed and resisted the officers.”
Interestingly, a viral video showed Oseni saying to law enforcers: “I will call the governor.” He exclaimed: “Nonsense!” What will he tell the governor? What will he expect the governor to do?
In the end, he was reported to have paid the prescribed fine. He also made a public apology. He regularly criticises the authorities on television. He should also regularly do self-criticism.