SOME mindless commercial motorcycle operators and miscreants recently murdered the Apapa Zon B Head of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr Tajudeen Olatunji Bakare, at Point Road in Apapa Local Government Area of the state.
The dastardly act occurred on December 15, 2016; two weeks after the Lagos State Government announced its intention to begin full enforcement of the law restricting the motorcyclists’ operation in 475 roads across the state. LASTMA, Vehicle
Inspection Service, (VIS) and the Police were directed to ensure compliance.
The fatally mobbed officer was newly transferred from Zone 37 to the Apapa Zone 13. He and his team were busy controlling traffic on the fateful day when the assailants swooped on them. The motive behind the heinous act remains as yet unknown.
Commercial motorcyclists have for long constituted themselves into real threats to other road users, pedestrians and law enforcement agents in most parts of the country. They defy every government’s effort to structure their operation.
The Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012, enacted by the regime of former Governor Babatunde Fashola to curb their excesses, has not yielded the desired result. Bakare was lynched in an attempt to implement the law. Commercial motorcycle operators flout traffic rules with impunity and expose themselves, their passengers and other road users to great risks. Apart from becoming laws unto themselves, some use their motorcycles to perpetrate other crimes including armed robbery and kidnapping.
In any society, an assault on a law enforcement agent is a direct attack on the state. No matter the grievances, nobody should take the life of another, least of all a law officer. Such an act is totally intolerable.
The Lagos State Government must match its words with action and ensure the killers of officer Bakare are brought to book Bringing the hoodlums to justice will send signals of governments’ zero tolerance for lawlessness in Lagos and other parts of the country. Those found guilty should feel the full weight of the law to serve as deterrent to others.
We commiserate with the deceased’s family and the Lagos State Government over the loss of a diligent officer and call on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to ensure that Bakare’s immediate family is not forgotten after losing their breadwinner.
Law-enforcement officials should be fortified with protective equipment, technology and rapid response when exposed to danger.
The arrest and prosecution of Bakare’s killers and the uncompromising implementation of the Traffic Law will demonstrate the state government’s resolve to make Lagos a megalopolis that works for the good of all its residents.
We, however, urge the authorities to ascertain why the mob took this strange action, and ensure the views and interests of the general public are accommodated when making new laws.