In a recent traffic altercation in Lagos, a driver claimed to have been led astray by Google Maps, resulting in an arrest by the police for a traffic violation. However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Benjamin Hundeyin, responded by stating that ignorance of the law and reliance on technology are not acceptable excuses.
The driver, Oyiga Michael, on Saturday, recounted his ordeal on social media, saying that he was apprehended by the police in Ijesha while using Google Maps to navigate his way home.
According to Michael, despite explaining the situation to the police officers, they persisted in accusing him of violating traffic rules, leading to the impoundment of his car at the Cele Police Station.
The officers allegedly demanded N30,000 for the release of the impounded vehicle, leaving Michael and his companions stranded without the means to pay the sum.
“Immediately we got to the turn to Ijesha, they (police) said we were following one way and were threatening to deflate our tyre.
“We have explained and explained and they don’t even want to hear that it was the map that was misleading and they’ve been threatening to beat us as well. We don’t have any money extra as we are coming from a wedding,” he said.
In response to Michael’s distress call, Hundeyin said that ignorance is not a defense in the eyes of the law, and relying on Google Maps does not exempt individuals from adhering to traffic regulations. He urged citizens to remain composed and allow the legal process to take its course.
Clarifying the police’s role, Hundeyin highlighted that law enforcement officers enforce laws established by the people and do not create traffic regulations or road signage.
Regarding the demand for payment allegedly made by the officers, Hundeyin firmly advised against giving bribes, stressing that paying fines should occur through the appropriate legal channels, primarily within the courtroom.
Acknowledging the mistake made by Michael, the driver expressed remorse for the error and conveyed a commitment to avoiding such incidents in the future, seeking clemency from the authorities.
Despite being relieved from custody, Michael on Sunday shared his concern about his impounded car, hoping for understanding from the police when he returns to retrieve it.
“Thank you everybody for reaching out. I am fine. I was not detained, and neither was I harmed. Although our car is still at the station. We are asked to come back on Monday. Hopefully, they can forgive us and we can get it back,” he wrote on X.