The crowd shunned coronavirus protocol
The government of Lagos state has been criticised for auctioning 88 vehicles belonging to citizens of the state accused of engaging in one offence or the other.
At the car park of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences in the Alausa area of Ikeja on Wednesday, a large crowd of over 300 Lagosians shunned coronavirus protocal as they jostled to buy 88 vehicles seized and auctioned by the task force.
In what appeared a survival of the highest bidder, Lagosians shunned COVID-19 protocols to clinch their desired vehicles.
The PUNCH had reported that the task force said it obtained an order of the Lagos State Mobile Court to auction the 88 vehicles seized for various traffic violations across the state.
The Chairman of the agency, Shola Jejeloye, had announced that the public auction would hold today at the agency’s car park in the state capital.
Punch observed that over 300 Lagosians gathered to bid for the vehicles, many of whom did not wear their face masks while a sparse minority who used theirs hang the protective clothings below their chins, leaving their mouths and nostrils uncovered.
“Use you face masks, social distancing please,” said an official who spoke with the aid of a public address system but the bidders paid no attention as they clustered round other officials of the task force. This is particularly concerning amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with Lagos being the epicentre of the infection in Nigeria.
At the public auction, the officials stood on elevated platforms and rang hand bells intermittently as they announced the prices of the vehicles while the bidders bellowed their interest to have the vehicles. The officials called a starting price of N100,000 and raised it till the last man standing.
A relatively new red-coloured Toyota RAV 4 was auctioned for N400,000 while some yellow-coloured commercial buses also known as danfos were disposed for as low as N150,000. Both private and commercial vehicles were disposed while the original owners of the vehicles were not prioritised in the bidding process.
The names of the highest bidders were then written by officials of the task force side by side with the number plates of the vehicles auctioned.
Unnamed officials of the task force were also heard telling the bidders that the money must be paid immediately while some bidders engaged in verbal scuffle over certain brands of cars.
Many Nigerians have since criticised the whole auction process. Popular disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, fondly referred to as DJ Switch had appeared in a video of late, censuring the Lagos State Government for being insensitive and too hard on traffic offenders.
DJ Switch, who is outside the country following the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, said fines could have been imposed on the offenders or they could have been sentenced to community services.