Lagos Laments Attacks on LASTMA Officials, Drags Two to Court
• Fingers operators of commercial buses, motorcycles
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Lagos State Government yesterday condemned the recent attack on officials of the State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), alleging that some operators of commercial buses, motorcycles and tricycles were behind the attacks.
Consequently, the state government disclosed that it charged two persons namely; Mr. Godfrey Efekoma and Mr. Ganiu Isiaka for allegedly driving without vehicle particulars and deliberately assaulting its traffic law enforcement officials.
The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Musa Olawale, disclosed this in a statement he issued yesterday, strongly condemning the recent spree of organised attacks on the officials of the state’s traffic agency.
Olawale frowned at the activities of operators of commercial buses, motorcycles and tricycles, alleging that they “are always in the habit of attacking traffic personnel, who go about duty lawfully.”
He noted that such attacks would not in any way deter or intimidate the traffic agency or its officials from performing its lawful duties, noting that the state government “will invoke the full weight of the law against any person that attacks traffic officials.”
He explained the new approach to traffic law enforcement, which he said, was “a demonstration of the agency’s flexibility, civility and respect for motorists and members of the public. That is the practice in the civilised world.”
The general manager added that traffic officials’ politeness and civility on duty should not be misconstrued for weakness, thereby urging motorists, especially the commercial drivers “to reciprocate this gesture through voluntary compliance with the traffic laws and cooperation with traffic personnel.”
Olawale, therefore, warned motorists to desist from hitting LASTMA officials with their vehicles, noting that any person caught in such acts would be dealt with in accordance with the law, irrespective of his status.
Already, he said the state government had dragged two persons, who recently attacked traffic law enforcement officials at Ifako Gbagada and Acme road, Ogba before the courts of competent jurisdiction in the state.
He cited the case of Mr. Nwangi Sunday, who he said, “was knocked down by Mr. Ganiu Isiaka, a driver of commercial bus with registration number FST961XS penultimate Sunday at Ifako Gbagada and dragged him on the road before fleeing the scene of the incident.
He noted that the traffic official “only warned Isiaka not to pick passengers at an unauthorised place because it would cause traffic gridlock on the ever busy Ifako along Gbagada road. Isiaka on seeing the grievous harm done to the LASTMA official fled the scene, before he was eventually arrested by the combined efforts of LASTMA officials, police and some members of the public.”
Likewise, Olawale added that an operator of tricycle, Mr. Godfrey Fekoma “deliberately hit another traffic official, Mr. Rasak Oyekan attached to the Pen- Cinema command last Tuesday. Fekoma committed the offence along Acme road, off Agidingbi Road, thus inflicting deep cut on Oyekan’s head.
He said the suspect committed the offence in an attempt “to forcefully scare the official. After hitting the traffic officials, the suspect ran away, though was later arrested by the officials of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and handed over to Pen Cinema Police Division.
He added that the two suspects have already been arranged before Ogudu and Ogba magistrate courts and remanded at Ikoyi and Kirikiri prisons pending the perfection of their bail conditions.