LASTMA denies ignoring brutalised driver’s petition

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority has denied ignoring the petition of a commercial driver, Olasunkanmi Adejare, who accused the agency of using thugs to impound his vehicle in the Oshodi area of the state.

The agency, however, alleged that the driver was a serial traffic offender, who was fond of writing petitions when apprehended.

PUNCH Metro had reported that Adejare, who drove a minibus for commercial purposes on the Lagos Island, went to the Ladipo area of the state on April 12, 2021, to purchase some tyres for the vehicle.

The 44-year-old claimed that he was on his way back to the Lagos Island when he was accosted by three thugs allegedly working for LASTMA around the Oshodi area where he parked his vehicle for a friend to alight.

The driver told our correspondent that the men demanded the key of his vehicle and when he refused to give them, they beat him up.

Adejare said the group drove the vehicle to the LASTMA office in Oshodi, adding that efforts to retrieve the bus proved abortive while his petition was ignored by the agency.

Reacting to Adejare’s claims on Tuesday, the agency noted that he was arrested by a combined team of LASTMA and police officers for dropping and picking passengers on the Oshodi Bridge.

The agency, in a statement by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Olumide Filade, stated that Adejare failed to cooperate with the agency in resolving the matter, adding that he also tried to evade justice.

The statement read in part, “The General Manager, LASTMA, Mr Bolaji Oreagba, stated that the case has been on since April 2021 while Adejare has refused to admit to committing any traffic offence even after writing so many petitions which were investigated, he was advised to submit himself to the mobile court for adjudication. He absconded since then only for him to appear on the pages of a newspaper.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that Adejare is a serial offender with a penchant for writing petitions when apprehended in order to evade justice based on sentiments. He made this known in one of his petitions of earlier traffic law violations committed and was released on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Adejare said in the publication that he realised that because he wrote petitions against us to the ministry that was why we did not want to release the vehicle. The agency cannot prejudice his case as it is already in court.

“The complainant, Adejare, also accused the agency of having stolen the tyres he went to purchase at Ladipo spare parts market, but when asked to present evidence of the purchase (receipt) and other documentary evidence, he could not provide any. It should be noted that the accusation of assault by LASTMA officers’ ab-initio was not part of Adejare’s initial claim and members of the public are advised to disregard this blatant untruth being peddled.”

Responding to LASTMA’s statement, Adejare accused the agency of lying against him.

He said, “In the petition I wrote to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, I stated that I was beaten mercilessly and the petition was referred to the LASTMA DG, who also referred to Mr Apena. When I met him, he told me that those guys were only doing their work and no investigation was carried out.

“On May 11, 2021, I wrote another petition which was referred to the director of legal service and when he called me for a meeting, he said they had not been able to identify those culprits. When he later called me, he asked if I could recognise the thugs among the officers in his office that day, and I said no, but that I could recognise them if I saw them.

“Mr Akerele asked the LASTMA officials in his office that day why they didn’t arrest the commercial vehicles at my back in the picture and the officers lied that they used the vehicles to stop me from escaping and I said it was a lie and told the director that those vehicles at my back were picking and dropping passengers and that the thugs that arrested me were not present in that meeting.”

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