In a recent traffic incident in Lagos, a driver claimed that Google Maps had led him astray, resulting in his arrest for a traffic violation. However, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Benjamin Hundeyin responded that ignorance of the law and reliance on technology are not acceptable excuses.
On Saturday, the driver, Oyiga Michael, recounted his ordeal on social media, claiming that he was apprehended by police in Ijesha while navigating his way home using Google Maps.
Despite explaining the situation to the police officers, Michael claims that they persisted in accusing him of breaking traffic laws, resulting in 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 due to a lack of funds.
“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 stated that ignorance is not a legal defence and that relying on Google Maps does not exempt individuals from following traffic laws. He urged citizens to remain calm and let the legal process play out.
To clarify the role of the police, Hundeyin stated that officers enforce laws established by the people and do not create traffic regulations or road signage.
Concerning the alleged demand for payment made by the officers, Hundeyin strongly advised against paying bribes, emphasising that paying fines should take place through the proper legal channels, primarily within the courtroom.
Recognising Michael’s error, the driver expressed remorse and expressed a commitment to avoiding similar incidents in the future, seeking clemency from the authorities.
Despite being released, Michael expressed concern about his impounded car on Sunday, hoping for understanding from 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.