In continuation of efforts to stem the tide of corruption among the state’s traffic officials, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has arrested eight of its officials for collecting bribe from motorists and for other corrupt practices.
The officials, who are attached to the Agege-Pen Cinema Office of the Agency, according to a statement by Mahmud Hassan, Public Affairs Officer of the LASTMA, were arrested last week. They are 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 Lagos painted 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, the matter took a new twist at the Agege Office when the apprehending officials in conjunction with the General Duty Officer demanded for the sum of N7,200 from each of the bus drivers before the release of the buses.
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 and marked currency were given to the complainants and collected by the officials in a successful sting operation organized and coordinated 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 and at the same location, the 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.
All the traffic officials involved in this shameful act have been released on bail, but are to face the full weight of the Lagos State Public Service Rules and Regulations.
Speaking on the incident at Oshodi Office of the Agency, LASTMA General Manager, Mr Olawale Musa said the Agency has set a standard for itself to become one of the most disciplined, credible and efficient traffic management institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He said: “LASTMA under my watch will not tolerate any act of indiscipline and corruption capable of dragging the revered image of the Agency and that of the State Government to the mud.
“To this end, all the officials involved in the shameful act will be made to appear before the Personnel Management Board (Discipline) to defend their actions in accordance with the relevant sections of the Public Service Rules.”
Speaking further, Musa said the action of the officials were disgraceful and did not represent the training and operational manual of the Agency, adding that it also did not justify the huge motivation and investment in them by the Agency to perform excellently on the road.
He said the introduction of the 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 concentrating on 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.