Lagos sacks 34 officials over extortion

Lagos State Government, on Friday evening, disclosed that in the last 18 months, no fewer than 34 officers of the State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have been dismissed, with two others under investigation for extortion and sundry issues.

The Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, and LASTMA’s General Manager, Wale Musa, disclosed this to correspondents at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja.

Hamzat, while stressing that the present administration was committed to giving adequate support to LASTMA officials towards reducing travel time within the state, it would not condone any state government official that terrorizes the citizens.

”And that is why we are currently investigating two of our officers that allegedly harassed citizens who admitted driving against traffic. But the essence of LASTMA officers on the road is not to harass but to affirm the dictate of the road traffic law and be civil while enforcing it.

”The claim is that the two officers allegedly extorted money from the driver. A petition has been written to the state government by a law firm stating how it happened. The officers have been referred to the agency that has power to discipline them for investigation,” he added.

While disclosing that the officers were currently before the State Disciplinary Management Board, the deputy governor assured residents that none of the officers enforcing the law has a right to harass them.

Hamzat cautioned the residents against depositing money for fines into officers’ personal accounts, saying, the only approved account must have Lagos State Government as the account holder.

Explaining how the officers were dismissed, Musa said, that while 24 were dismissed last year, 10 have been dismissed between January and May 31.

He noted that the agency has decided to intensify it’s enforcement and keep watch on LASTMA officers.

”Any officer found wanting will be disciplined accordingly. We have been doing it. This year nothing less than 10 LASTMA officers were dismissed. Same last year, over 24 were dismissed. We have a system where we can discipline our staff.

”Anyone that has an issue, should please take it up with us, we will deal with it accordingly. We have been seeing so many social media comments on the law, the truth is that the law is meant to be obeyed.

“But we have a system where no LASTMA officer issues you a ticket. The LASTMA officer and yourself will face the law. It is not the right of the LASTMA officer to tell you that you are guilty, it is the court that decides.

”If members of the public can cooperate with us, we are ready and willing to ensure that the laws are obeyed and that our men work without fear or intimidation and no member of the public will be intimidated.

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