LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority has confirmed the arrest of a serial fake traffic officer around the Ikoyi area of the State.
This was announced in a press statement on 26 March by the Director of the Public Affairs Department of LASTMA, Mr. Adebayo Taofiq.
In the statement, the General Manager, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba, confirmed that the suspect was caught at Olu Holloway Road in the Alfred Rewane area of Ikoyi by a LASTMA Monitoring/Surveillance team led by the Zonal Head, Mr. Ashafa Moyosore.
Oreagba revealed that the action was in response to series of complaints made by Obinna Kingsley and Adewusi Adebola via LASTMA hotlines and social media accounts.
The statement read: “Investigation conducted revealed that the arrested suspect has been extorting huge sums of money from motorists for various traffic offences ranging from the seatbelt, obstructions, illegal overtaking and one-way at different locations around Lagos Island.
“It is disheartening to get complaints from road users, particularly motorists, on activities of these unscrupulous elements impersonating and extorting money from them.
“Mr Oreagba urged the general public to be wary of these fake traffic officers stating that the agency operates a cashless policy as any violators apprehended are charged to court with a ‘referral notice’ issued to them.”
Adebayo said Oreagba warned other impersonators disguising as LASTMA personnel to immediately desist from such illegal acts as more surveillance personnel had been deployed to hunt for them.
“The arrested suspect, Bamidele Omotutu, 55, confessed to having been using a reflective jacket to impersonate a LASTMA officer and extorting money from motorists’ particularly private car owners/ drivers at highbrow areas across the state. The suspect said he and his colleagues are making an average of N35,000 from extortion daily,” the statement added.
“Narrating how he has been operating in the state, Omotutu said, “Any motorists, particularly private car owners I caught dropping someone at any undesignated bus stop, paid between N15,000 and N20,000 while those caught for driving against traffic paid a minimum of N35, 000.”
According to the statement, the suspect has operated in areas including Ikoyi, Obalende, Apongbon Bridge, Iporin, and Olowu areas.
A complainant, Mr Adewusi Adebola confirmed that the suspect apprehended him for obstruction on 6 March this year around Awolowo Road, Ikoyi and collected N20,000 from him for dropping his colleagues.
Another complainant, Obinna Kingsley, narrated how he was compelled to transfer N50,000 to the arrested suspect for obstruction on Awolowo Road by Obalende Bridge towards Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS).
Meanwhile, the Director of the Legal Department, LASTMA, Kehinde Akerele, disclosed that the suspect would be charged to court with all items recovered from him, including a fake identity card and a reflective jacket on 27 March, in accordance with the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.