A fake officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) was yesterday nabbed around the Lekki area of state.
In a press statement released by the Director, Public Affairs Department of LASTMA Mr. Adebayo Taofiq, the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba confirmed that the suspect was nabbed by a LASTMA patrol team while monitoring and controlling traffic around the Lekki axis.
“Priliminary investigations conducted by the Agency revealed that the arrested suspect belonged to a criminal gang which has been extorting huge sum of money from innocent motorists apprehended for various traffic offences ranging from seat-belt, obstructions, illegal over-taking and One-way at different locations across the State”
According to Mr. Oreagba “the suspect was apprehended after LASTMA patrol team sighted him fully kitted in LASTMA uniform which he wore on a black jean during which he was collecting money from different commercial bus drivers who were illegally dropping and picking passengers under the Lekki bridge”
“It is disheartening for some unscrupulous elements impersonating as LASTMA Officials and extorting money from innocent motorists thereby denting the good image of the Agency before the public”
Mr.Oreagba urged motorists to be wary of fake officers demanding money from them stating that the Agency operates a cashless policy as any violators apprehended are charged to court with a ‘Referral Notice’
He however warned impersonators to desist from such illegal acts as more surveillance personnel have been deployed to strategic locations to hunt for those extorting innocent motorists under the pretext of the Agency.
The arrested suspect Mr. David Oluchkwu (27yrs) confessed to have been impersonating the agency and extorting money from different motorists particularly commercial bus drivers apprehended for violating traffic laws in that area.
The suspect, Oluchkwu who hailed from ‘Ukpu’ in Anambra State confessed further to be making an average of N40,000 everyday from the illegal traffic business.
“Any motorists I caught driving against traffic (One-way) paid a minimum of N50,000 while other traffic violators were charged with different fines”
The suspect with no any fixed address however appealed to the government to temper justice with mercy.
Meanwhile, the Director, Legal Department of LASTMA, Barr. Akerele Kehinde explained that the arrested suspect would be charged in accordance with the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.