The Lagos State Government on Friday condemned in strong terms the mob action that led to the death of an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Tajudeen Olatunji Bakare and vowed to bring the perpetrators to book.
The Government also denied involvement of LASTMA in an incident which led to the death of a motor boy attached to a Tanker in Apapa area of the State on Thursday.
As a result of the incident, a mob in the area had gathered to attack the said LASTMA Official and stoned him to death.
Bakare, a level 14 officer, was said to have been attacked by the irate mob due to a loose comment by a passerby, while his two eyes were removed and stabbed, after which he was stoned to death.
Addressing a press briefing on the incident on Friday, the state Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofiu Elegushi condemned the brutal murder of the officer, saying that the development was one death too many and most unfortunate, as the victim was killed while performing his lawful duties of making Apapa safe for motorists and commuters.
Elegushi, who addressed the briefing alongside with the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Mr. Chris Olakpe and the General Manager of the Agency, Bashir Braimoh, said the officer was killed for an incident he knew absolutely nothing about, adding that it was painful that LASTMA officials were being given raw deals either by the people they were meant to serve or security officers, and that such must stop.
“Officer Bakare did not lose his life to an accident. No. His life was taken by persons whose only response to an incident is to resort to “jungle justice” even when they were not sure of the play of event. Our officer was murdered by blood thirsty hounds who parade themselves as purveyors of transportation,” Elegushi said.
He said the gallant officer was brought down in a situation where LASTMA was clearly not culpable, and urged the Nigerian Police to do a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to book, saying justice must be served.
Contrary to earlier insinuation, the Commissioner said an eye witness account revealed that LASTMA vehicle did not kill anyone, but that it was the driver of the said Tanker that killed his motor boy who was asleep under the vehicle.
Speaking authoritatively, Elegushi alleged that the mob action was carried out by tanker drivers, okada riders and other persons who live around them, all of whom he said were persons violating traffic laws, adding that the deceased LASTMA officer was a victim of forceful take-over of roads by a group of people who desire to become a law unto themselves.
He added: “As a government, we have over the years, asked tank farms to provide alternatives; we have engaged with the operators and tanker drivers yet they remain intransigent. To avoid situations such as this, we have proffered options but we remain undaunted in our resolve.
“The Ministry of Transportation, the supervisor of LASTMA and the management of the agency are irrevocably committed to that singular responsibility of ensuring that Lagos roads remain safe and traffic flows to enable the State’s economy to thrive. We do so believing that all residents and visitors to the State obey all our laws and live in tandem with our vision of the community we desire to live in a Lagosians.”
While debunking insinuation that enforcement of traffic laws in the state were geared towards revenue generation, Elegushi said the State was not in dire need of cash to warrant such, adding that the commitment of the government was to engender compliance with the traffic laws and enforce the law with civility as directed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Also speaking, Olakpe said the incident was most unfortunate as LASTMA officials are usually trained and retrained on how to be firm, fair and friendly while dealing with members of the public.
Olakpe, who urged the public to desist from mob attack on officers of the agency as it was against the law, said the agency can be reached for complaints through 08129928646.