By IFEOMA IKEM
Eight officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) are in chains for allegedly collecting money from motorists in Lagos.
National Daily gathered the suspect are attached to the Agege-Pen Cinema Office.
They are identified as Adebeshin Adeola, Davies Idowu, Folashade Abolade, Shittu Lanre, Akinkotu Olusoga, Olowu Said, Olaoye Peter and Adebola Said.
The duo of Adeshina and Davies had earlier arrested two commercial buses with registration numbers FKJ 770 XT and KRD 558 XM driven by one Olatunji Mayowa and Donatus Eze respectively at Abule Egba area of the State for seat belt violation.
The actions of the drivers were in violations of the Lagos State Traffic laws, and the buses were subsequently apprehended and taken to the Agege-Pen Cinema Office of the Agency.
However, it was learnt that the matter took a new twist at the Agege Office when the officers in conjunction with the General Duty Officer demanded for the sum of N7, 200 from each of the bus drivers before they would have their buses released to them.
The drivers, knowing the position of LASTMA on corruption and having listened to various media programmes where official complaint numbers were given, alerted the Agency.
As a result, marked currency were given to the complainants which were made available to the officials before they were arrested by the Provost Marshal of the Agency, Mr Femi Ajibosho.
The Provost Marshal arrived when Abolade was about collecting N7,200 from Donatus Eze, while the collected marked money of N7,200 of Olatunji Mayowa was found on her after search.
In the same vein, members of the patrol team of the Agency comprising of Shittu Lanre, Akinkotu Olusoga, Olowu Said, Olaoye Peter and Adebola Said also arrested a vehicle for traffic laws violation and asked Abolade to facilitate collection of bribe on their behalf from the alleged offender before the release of the vehicle.
He said the introduction of culture of civility and respect for motorists’ rights was part of the bid to curb corruption in the agency, with more emphasis on reducing rash decisions, extortion of motorists and rather than concentrating on the efficient traffic management and control.
However, the LASTMA boss said the new paradigm shift which is now responsible for sanity, orderliness and seamless traffic on Lagos roads does not preclude the Agency from sanctioning any motorist who runs foul of the law when occasion calls for it, in order to improve on the existing tempo and performance.
It would be recalled that the Agency recently dismissed 20 officials for various corrupt practices and 15 others received letters of warning for various acts considered inimical to the Agency and service of the Lagos State Government.