Police, LASTMA silent on identities of bribe-seeking officers

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The Lagos State Police Command and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority have yet to reveal the identities of their officers allegedly involved in the extortion of motorists at the Berger-Isheri area of the state.

PUNCH Metro had investigated allegations of extortion by a team of policemen and LASTMA officers deployed at the junction to control traffic.

Our correspondent, who disguised as a hawker, watched for hours as the group exploited motorists seeking to connect from the Berger-Isheri Road to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The reporter noted that the green arrow of the old traffic light ran for about 20 seconds before indicating the amber and the red light.

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Motorists, who left the waiting lane between 17th and 19th seconds, when the green light was still on, were arrested as soon as they got to the road linking the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Our correspondent also observed as the LASTMA officers and policemen stopped motorists and pointed their attention to the traffic light, which by then had turned red.

PUNCH Metro noted that the motorists were stopped on the instruction of a pot-bellied man in mufti, who entered their vehicles.

The dark-complexioned man, with two others also in mufti, entered at least two Toyota Camry cars while our correspondent was at the scene.

They did not alight until after a stop at a Point-of-Sale terminal shop.

The police and LASTMA, after withdrawing the culprits, announced investigations into the allegations.

While sanity had returned to the location, more motorists contacted PUNCH Metro to testify to the high level of extortion at the junction and in different parts of the state.

The pot-bellied man, in particular, who was identified as a policeman, was said to have been operating at the Berger-Isheri Junction for many years, as some described him as a multi-millionaire.

“He and his deputy have never worn a police uniform in eight years,” a resident said.

Residents wondered how the policeman could have operated at the location without uniform for such a long period without the knowledge of the police authorities.

Another commuter, while commending our correspondent for the report, said the authorities were aware of the extortion.

“That is why you may not hear anything about the case again,” he added.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, when called for an update on the matter, said investigations had yet to be concluded.

He said, “You know that kind of investigation takes time. The divisional police officers were summoned by the commissioner and he gave them a stern warning to desist from such unprofessional acts. They were also told to fish out the officers.”

The General Manager of LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, did not take his calls, which rang out many times.

A text message sent to him was also not replied to as of the time of filing this report.

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