By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
No fewer than 200 officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, have been withdrawn from the Lagos State Transport Management Agency, LASTMA, for yet-to-be disclosed reasons. They have been directed to report at their command headquarters in Ikeja, over two weeks ago.
Investigations revealed that the withdrawal may not be unconnected with a breach in their condition of service by the management of LASTMA, since they were drafted to assist the agency in their operations in the state.
Sources at the headquarters of the agency in Oshodi intimated that their activities and operations have been virtually grounded following the development. According to the source, “we came to work one morning only to be informed that police authorities have ordered the immediate withdrawal of their officers and men attached to us and since then, our operations have been paralysed all over the state.”
Officials of the agency who spoke with Saturday Vanguard on the condition of anonymity disclosed that officers and men of the police force attached to the agency have been grumbling for long over alleged short change in their allowances without care from the management of the agency. “They have openly been agitating that their counterparts posted on special duties to other agencies and government house, Alausa, are adequately remunerated while the Management of LASTMA, pays them pea nuts.
A police officer on mufti seen inside the headquarters of the agency told Saturday Vanguard that they have been withdrawn for over three weeks and all efforts by the management of the agency to make Police authorities change their decision have so far failed. “ The Chairman of the board, Young Arebamen, a retired Commissioner of Police, even held a meeting in his office with the new Commissioner of Police in Lagos, but nothing has come out of it till now. We were just dumped at the headquarters in Ikeja without any other posting.
“Our grouse is the way we are being treated at LASTMA. While our colleagues attached to the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, Governor’s Monitoring team, GMT and other Task Forces, are paid handsomely every month, we receive paltry allowances every six months from LASTMA in spite of the tedious nature of our assignments. That is why Lagosians have been complaining of high level of corruption in the agency.”
When contacted for confirmation, the new Lagos State Police spokesperson, Patricia Amadin said, “Its an administrative re-structuring. Postings in the force are supposed to be dynamic. We don’t want anybody to assume stationery roles in any beat. The new Commissioner of Police posted them out and he is going to replace them with fresh hands. The command is not aware of any grumbling from any quarters.”