Sanity returns as Lagos constitutes committee

POLICE LASTMA
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Sanity has returned to the Isheri-Berger area of Lagos State following the withdrawal of some policemen and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority accused of extorting motorists at the location.

PUNCH Metro gathered that motorists now ply the route without any form of harassment.

The development came after an investigation by our correspondent into the activities of the officials after complaints by some motorists.

Residents accused the policemen and LASTMA officials in the area of working together to extort money from people over alleged traffic offences.

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This was confirmed by our correspondent, who disguised as a hawker and 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.

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-complexion man, with two others also in mufti, entered at least two Toyota Camry cars and did not alight until after a stop at a Point-of-Sale terminal shop.

Some Nigerians, who read the report on Tuesday, took to different social media platforms to share their ordeals in other parts of the state.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the Lagos State Police Command and LASTMA had started investigations into the allegations.

Our correspondent, who visited the area on Thursday, observed that the policemen were no longer on the road.

However, one police traffic warden was seen at the location, including three LASTMA officials, while one of them controlled the traffic.

A motorist, who identified himself as Steven, said, “I go through this route on a daily basis and I used to see how some police officers treat motorists unjustly. I have been a victim before. But I’ve not seen them in the last two days. It’s unlike them.”

A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “This is where I stay every day and I know how they operate. The last time I saw them was on Tuesday morning when they arrested a motorist here. I have not seen them since then.”

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, described the allegations against the law enforcement agents as serious.

He said the state had set up a committee to look into the matter.

He said, “A document was sent to me a while ago, indicating that a committee has been set up to look into the allegations. We are expecting the outcome.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, also restated that investigation was ongoing.

“I will get back to you as soon as I get a brief about the investigation,” he added.

Repeated calls to the phone of the General Manager of LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, were unanswered.

The LASTMA Public Relations Officer, Olumide Filade, when called, said he was driving.

A text message sent to him requesting an update on the matter had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing this report.

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