A suspected individual who has been posing as a traffic officer from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has been apprehended by the authorities.
The suspect, identified as Omotutu Bamidele, aged 55, was caught in the Ikoyi region of Lagos State.
In a statement released by LASTMA on Sunday, the suspect, who comes from Atijere Town in Ondo State, admitted to participating in the illegal activity of extorting money from motorists, particularly private car owners and drivers, in various locations across the state.
The suspect and his accomplices, who are still at large, were reportedly earning an average of N35,000 per day from these illegal activities.
The suspect was able to impersonate the agency by wearing a reflective jacket.
According to LASTMA, the suspect said, “Any motorist particularly private car owners I caught dropping someone at any undesignated bus stop paid between N15,000 to N20,000, while those caught for driving against traffic (One-way) paid a minimum of N35,000.”
The director, Public Affairs Department of LASTMA, Mr. Adebayo Taofiq, quoted the General Manager, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba, to have confirmed that the suspect was nabbed at Olu Holloway Road by Alfred Rewane area of Ikoyi by men of the agency’s Monitoring/Surveillance team, led by Mr. Ashafa Moyosore (Zonal Head).
Oreagba said the agency carried out special monitoring/Surveillance operations about the suspect and got him arrested in response to complaints from the motoring public (Obinna Kingsley and Adewusi Adebola) via LASTMA hotlines/social media handles.
He said, “Investigation conducted revealed that the arrested suspect has been extorting huge sum of money from motorists for various traffic offences ranging from seat-belt, obstructions, illegal over-taking and One-way at different locations around the Lagos Island.
“It is disheartening getting complaints from road users particularly motorists on activities of these unscrupulous elements impersonating and extorting money from them.”
LASTMA boss, therefore, urged the general public to be wary of those 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.
“Let me warn the motoring public to desist from inducing traffic officers in any form as both the giver and taker are liable before the law,” Oregaba said.