Home Community Insights Auctioning of traffic offenders’ vehicles is draconian

Auctioning of traffic offenders’ vehicles is draconian

Auctioning of traffic offenders’ vehicles is draconian

News: Tears flow as traffic offenders beg bidders at the Lagos auction!

The act of Lagos state traffic task force auctioning confiscated cars of traffic offenders is disheartening and should be abolished.

It should forever be abolished because, any law at all; be it state laws or federal laws enacted either by the federal or state lawmakers that do not align with the grund norm ie the constitution is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency. 

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This law of the Lagos state that empowers the Lagos state government to confiscate vehicles of traffic offenders and auction them out without following the constitutional due process of fair hearing, as provided in s. 36 of the constitution is not just draconian but also a slap on the face of the constitution and such law must be thrown away.

No wonder St Augustine earlier said that “an unjust law is no law at all” and should never be obeyed or implemented. Because for punishment to exist in our laws it has to be more tolerable and not too harsh. 

The Lagos state government should review these traffic offense punishments in line with the gravity of the crime. In this instance, the appropriate punishment for the offense is the option of a fine or temporary seizure of the vehicle but never for the owner of the vehicle to forever forfeit the property. Punishment must be in the same gravity as the offense if not the law will be deemed a bad law. The act of auctioning those vehicles is gross, not in the same gravity as the offence and therefore a bad law. 

According to the positive theory of crime, harsh Punishment does not deter people from committing crimes rather it reinforces the commission of crimes, this is why sentenced criminals go to prison instead to feel remorse and turn a new leaf due to the harshness of the prison sentence they rather join gangs in prisons and become more hardened criminals, more hardened and brutal compared to how they were before they were sent to jail.

Punishments to criminals should be couched in a way that it positively influences the offenders and makes them turn a new leaf from the act and then integrates the offenders back into the society as fit and proper members of the society.

All of us must agree on one fact which is that traffic offenders should be punished so as to curb traffic offenses, especially in a state like Lagos but auctioning the vehicles is way too brutal. It is a bad law and such law was never made to be in complement with the constitution. Hence, any law that empowers the government to confiscate properties and auction them without following the constitutional due process of fair hearing, giving the offenders the right to be heard, offends the provisions of the constitution and such law is repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience.

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