Liberia: FPA Editor Summoned by Supreme Court Justice Who Violated Traffic Law

0
HIGH COURT SUMMON: “I have been directed by his honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia to cite you for a conference with His Honor on Thursday, May 21, at the hour of 11.00 a.m. relative to the traffic incident involving you and the Justice which occurred on Monday, May 18, 2020, at about 9:00 a.m. around the VAi Town area while he was following police instructions.”
– Atty. Sam Mamulu, Clerk, Supreme Court of Liberia

Monrovia – Cllr. Joseph Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia has summoned the editor of FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Rodney Sieh to appear before him on Thursday, May 21, 2020 relating to a traffic incident on Monday, May 18, 2020.

In the summons served at the newspaper’s offices on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the Associate Justice wrote: “I have been directed by his honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia to cite you for a conference with His Honor on Thursday, May 21, at the hour of 11.00 a.m. relative to the traffic incident involving you and the Justice which occurred on Monday, May 18, 2020, at about 9:00 a.m. around the VAi Town area while he was following police instructions.”

The editor was on his way to the Vai Town area for an interview on Monday, May 19, 2020, when he noticed a black jeep licensed plate JUD 4 bulldozing its way toward him on heavy speed. “I wasn’t sure who’s vehicle it was at first- it was later I confirmed with a court staffer that it belonged to Associate Justice Nagbe,” the editor wrote in a Letter Tuesday.

The Vai Town road is one of the busiest traffic routes in Monrovia. It has become even more compounded now because of an ongoing renovation work due to the dilapidated condition of the road.

The Vai Town route was built as a four-lane road, two lanes going toward the Freeport of Monrovia and two opposite lanes, on the other side heading toward downtown Monrovia. More importantly, the road is divided by a center divide which is there to ensure that those on either side of the road stay in their respective lanes and do not cross over in the ongoing traffic in the other lane.

“This is a fight that I am very passionate about because it will save lives of innocent pedestrians. I will not subject myself to any official of government who will use his power to intimidate me for exercising my constitutional right. I was in the right lane and there is a clear divide between the two lanes. No matter how bad the traffic is, no official of government should cross over into incoming traffic. I could have been run over and killed. This is my right. I will not back down.”

Rodney D. Sieh, Editor, FrontPageAfrica

Following the incident, the editor placed a call to Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue, informing them of what had happened. The Chief Justice promised him that he would look into it, but never heard from him again. IG Sudue, also expressed frustration at how officials of government have been breaking the laws by driving in the wrong lane. 

“I even heard him on the phone instructing the chief of traffic to assign officers in the Vai Town Road to keep everyone in their respective lanes,” the editor wrote.

Under the Vehicle and Traffic Laws of Liberia, only the President, vice president and emergency vehicles have the right to use sirens in traffic and change lanes. Under the same law, police vehicles are allowed but only in emergency situations. However, since the end of the civil war, lawlessness has taken over with government officials both elected and appointed, taking matters into their own hands by bulldozing their way through traffic drawing ire from commuters and taxpayers, many of whom have become frustrated with the practice by so-called government big shots.

Section 38: 10.21 under the general rule of the Liberia Vehicle and Traffic Law states that vehicles shall be driven on the right half of every road of sufficient width except as follows: “When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; when overtaking or passing pedestrians or obstructions on the right half of the highway; when the right half of a road is closed to traffic while under the construction or repair; upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”


Section 10.21 states that drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right and upon highways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each driver shall give to the other as nearly as possible at least one half of the main-traveled portion of the highway.


Section 10.4 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of Liberia in the Liberian Code of Laws is clear that: “Any person who operates a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. A person who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than US$500.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.”

The Vai Town route was built as a four-lane road, two lanes going toward the Freeport of Monrovia and two opposite lanes, on the other side heading toward downtown Monrovia. More importantly, the road is divided by a center divide which is there to ensure that those on either side of the road stay in their respective lanes and do not cross over in the ongoing traffic in the other lane.

The editor has been a strong advocate against officials of government breaking traffic laws and often take photographs of violators and post them on his Facebook page.

In March, Cllr. Nyanati Tuan, Deputy Minister of Justice, hit a young girl and charged for violating traffic law because he failed to yield to “The Right-of-Way” ordinance. According to the traffic police, his reckless driving resulted into severe injuries and damage of properties. The incident took place on March 1, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. around Rehab, Paynesville City.

Responding to the Associate Justice’s summons Wednesday, the editor said he will not honor the Associate Justice’s summons because the official broke the traffic laws.

“This is a fight that I am very passionate about because it will save lives of innocent pedestrians. I will not subject myself to any official of government who will use his power to intimidate me for exercising my constitutional right. I was in the right lane and there is a clear divide between the two lanes. No matter how bad the traffic is, no official of government should cross over into incoming traffic. I could have been run over and killed. This is my right. I will not back down.”

Comments
Loading...