I love the United Kingdom. This love dates back to sometime in 2001 when I first set my feet on the British soil. Since 2001, the UK has become my regular travel destination. At a point I became a regular customer at the British Airways office in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. I was always among the first to knock on their door during their regular seasonal promo when tickets could cost you as low as sixty thousand Naira or less especially during festivities such as Valentine, Easter, Sallah, and Christmas celebrations.
All these awoof has since become extinct. Today you either cough out huge money that could run to hundreds of thousands of Naira or you consider astral travel option or astral projection. Yet my love for the United Kingdom grew even stronger especially when there was a change in leadership. Since the smooth change that brought in Rishi Sunik as Prime Minister, my love and admiration has grown. Now I am at a loss as to who I love most; the United Kingdom or the current new Prime Minister or maybe both
Besides loving both the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister, I am also a lover of the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC).Within the week, my beloved BBC blew my mind when they alerted me on a very interesting development in the United Kingdom. I am talking about a news development that means nothing to the developed clime where laws are no respecter of status but that stuns the average road user in our clime. I am talking about the citation issued to a whole Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a car.
When I stumbled on this news item, I was not shocked but was jilted from my consciousness on the need for us in our clime to rejig what we call enforcement devoid of any form of sentiment. It is also reminded me of the numerous cases of assaults our operatives go through not just in the hands of the high and mighty in our society but also in the hands of colleagues in uniform who see the unarmed operatives as a lame duck that could be assaulted, abducted, bundled away for daring to stop a vehicle belonging to a uniform personnel. A recent case in point was during our 2022 December special patrol held in Gwagwalada along the Abuja-Lokoja road. During one of the operations, we conducted a mobile court to dispense quickly with all cases of traffic infraction .It was in the course of the mobile court sitting that an overloaded vehicle was impounded and the driver brought to the mobile court. It was a huge shock when a serving military operative interrupted the court sitting wondering what has become of a Nigeria that has no respect to a serving Lieutenant. It took the wisdom of the presiding Magistrate to calm the tense atmosphere created by the young officer who showed no regard for the office of the magistrate or the age of the Magistrate. There have been worse cases where armed personnel barge in to interrupt the proceedings of the court in the name of being uniform personnel Now back to our story of the big time arrest. This is how the BBC captured the news; Rishi Sunak fined for not wearing seatbelt in back of car
According to the report, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was filmed without a seatbelt in a moving car.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been fined for not wearing a seatbelt in a moving car while filming a social media video. Lancashire Police said it had issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of a fixed penalty. No 10 said Mr Sunak “fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised”, adding that he would pay the fine.
If you recall when I wrote on 20years of seatbelt enforcement in Nigeria, I brought you up to speed on the reengineering strategies to enhance not just compliance but also ensure that law enforcers do the right thing to deter any level of decline in compliance by both the front and rear seat passengers. I informed you that passengers caught failing to wear a seatbelt when one is available can be fined a hundred pounds.
I also informed you that this fine can increase to five hundred pounds if the case goes to court.
I am just too excited but saddened at the thought of the likely reactions if this had happened in Nigeria with numerous phone calls, threats just like the type I personally received from a law maker some years ago in the Federal Capital Territory for daring to be arrested by my team when I held forth as Sector Commander. In fact, the law maker threatened to either reduce the Federal Road Safety Corps budget or frustrate our request.
But in the case of the Prime Minister he was quick to apologise for this conduct. Even the Deputy Prime Minister was quick to state that the Prime Minister is “someone with the highest standards of integrity” who had “made a mistake on the seatbelt issue”.
He further said that the PM was “a human being doing a demanding job” and had “put his hands straight up” and apologised.
The irony of this arrest is that the Prime Minister was in Lancashire when the video was filmed, during a trip across the north of England. So in brief, he was on official engagement promoting shooting a video to promote the government’s latest round of “levelling up” spending. The Prime Minister, it further reported was receiving the second fixed penalty while in government having received one along with Boris Johnson and wife for breaking Covid 19 lockdown rules in April last year. Their offence was for attending a birthday gathering for the then-prime minister in Downing Street in June 2020.
Fixed penalty notices are a sanction for breaking the law, and means a fine, which needs to be paid within 28 days, or contested. If someone chooses to contest the fine, the police will then review the case and decide whether to withdraw the fine or take the matter to court.
There are however others whose view is that of condemnation. Labour is one of such as the Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Sunak was a “total liability”. A Labour Party spokesperson added: “Hapless Rishi Sunak’s levelling-up photo op has blown up in his face and turned him into a laughing stock.”