Operatives of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have arrested a fake LASTMA traffic officer in Lekki, Lagos. Director, the Public Affairs Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq, who spoke on behalf of the General Manager, Bolaji Oreagba confirmed that the suspect was nabbed on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, by the Agency’s patrol team while on duty, monitoring and controlling traffic around the Lekki axis.
Taofiq said that preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect belonged to a criminal gang, which has been extorting money from innocent motorists apprehended for various traffic offences, ranging from seat-belt, obstructions, illegal over-taking and One-way at different locations across the state.
According to Oreagba “The suspect was apprehended after our patrol team sighted him fully kitted with LASTMA uniform on a black jean, collecting money from commercial bus drivers, who were illegally dropping and picking passengers under the Lekki bridge.
“It is disheartening for unscrupulous elements to impersonate LASTMA officials and extort money from innocent motorists, thereby denting the good image of the Agency before the public.”
Oreagba urged motorists to be wary of fake officers demanding money from them, stating that the Agency operates a cashless policy as violators apprehended are charged to court with a ‘Referral Notice’.
He, however, warned those impersonators to desist from such illegal acts as more surveillance personnel have been deployed to strategic locations to hunt for those extorting innocent motorists under the pretext of doing it for the Agency.
The 27-year-old arrested suspect, David Oluchkwu confessed to impersonating LASTMA officials and extorting money from different motorists, particularly commercial bus drivers for violating traffic laws across the state. Oluchkwu confessed further to making an average of N40, 000 everyday from the illegal business.
“Any motorists I caught driving against traffic (One-way) paid a minimum of N50,000, while other violators paid different fines” The suspect with no fixed address however appealed to the government to temper justice with mercy.
Meanwhile, Director of the Agency’s legal department, Akerele Kehinde, has disclosed that the suspect has been charged to court in accordance with the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.