October 29, 2014

Bus conductor’s death: Police arrest erring LASTMA officials

Bus conductor’s death:  Police arrest erring LASTMA officials

File Photo

By Evelyn Usman

There were indications yesterday that officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority alleged to be responsible for the death of a bus conductor, Ikechukwu Abasirim, on Monday at Cele Bus Stop, along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, have been arrested.

Although the exact number of officials arrested could not be ascertained at press time, Vanguard gathered that the suspects included three policemen attached to LASTMA.

The policemen, a Sergeant, a Corporal and a Constable, were alleged to have led the LASTMA officials in the ill-fated operation.

Vanguard gathered that when news of Monday’s incident reached LASTMA’s management, the erring officials were ordered to be arrested. They were said to be in the custody of police at Itire Division.

However, when the spokesman of Lagos State Police Command, Kenneth Nwosu, was contacted on phone to ascertain the number of suspects and their identities, a man who identified himself as Nwosu’s orderly, told Vanguard that his boss was on a tour with the Commissioner of Police, Cornelius Aderanti, and that he would get back to this reporter in two hours.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s family has called on the relevant authorities to ensure that justice was done on the death of their son, Ikechukwu Abasirim.

Commercial bus drivers plying the route yesterday decried what they described as inhuman treatment and intimidation meted out on them by officials of LASTMA and called on Governor Babatunde Fashola to checkmate their excesses.

The drivers, who alleged that the officials extort money from them at every opportunity, wondered why such exploitation would be carried out on a federal road.

One of the drivers, Mr. Elene Ilechukwu, said: “Our experience in the hands of LASTMA officials along this route is pitiable. What they do is hijack a bus along this expressway over a minor offence.

“They would, thereafter, use that bus to go after other buses. They are usually accompanied by three armed policemen. All they do is stop at designated points and give other commercial bus drivers the impression that they are loading.

“If any driver dares stop by that bus-stop, the armed policemen and LASTMA officials will jump out of the vehicle and arrest the conductor or driver.

“At other times, while we will stop at designated bus-stops to pick passengers, they would come in two commercial buses and block the driver from the back and front.

“At the end of the day they will extort no less than N5,000 from that driver. We are aware that they have been warned not to effect any arrest on federal roads.

“Had they adhered to the instruction, Ikechuchwu would not have been killed. We are therefore calling on Governor Fashola to call these officials to order.”