December 17, 2016

Murder of LASTMA zonal head: Lagos launches manhunt for perpetrators

Murder of LASTMA zonal head: Lagos launches manhunt for perpetrators

Late Bakare

*As deceased buried amidst tears
*How he was stoned to death —LASTMA

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo

THE Lagos State Government has said it would leave no stone unturned in the arrest and prosecution of people suspected to be members of commercial motorcycle Association, popularly called ‘Okada’ and miscreants for allegedly, killing zonal head of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Mr. Tajudeen Olatunji Bakare, while enforcing the 2012 road traffic law. It will be recalled that Thursday afternoon, like Biblical story of Stephen, Bakare was stoned to death by some miscreants and Okoda riders who were still at large as at press time.

Late Bakare

The mob action against the LASTMA official came barely two weeks after the state government declared renewed full enforcement of the state traffic law on Okada riders plying the restricted 475 roads across the state with the aim of restoring sanity especially during Yuletide; urging LASTMA, Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS,) Task-force and the Nigeria Police to immediately embark on enforcement.

Sources said that the statement of the government might have prompted the action of the miscreants and Okada riders, who swooped on the zonal head and his team while managing traffic within the axis. It was gathered that the zonal head was recently transferred to Apapa zone (zone 13) from zone 37, where he had performed excellently well.

It was learned that in order to reduce travel time within Apapa, Bakare was deployed to the zone, to ensure motorists and Okada riders adhere to the road traffic law.

An official within LASTMA told our correspondent that, “It was motorcyclists and touts that attacked him while on duty. In fact, he was recently transferred to Apapa after residents complained that they spend more time in traffic than expected.

“He was expected to bring his ingenuity to bear in managing traffic in Apapa but he was not allowed rather they  killed him. This is bad,” he added.

Slain LASTMA Officer buried amid tears, eulogies

Meantime, tears flowed freely amidst eulogies as top government and LASTMA officials paid their last respect at the burial of the slain LASTMA official Saturday Vanguard gathered that the deceased was buried at Aiyetoro area of Ogun State according to Islamic rites.

LASG vows to apprehend perpetrators

Meantime, the Lagos State Government yesterday, has condemned in strong terms the mob action that led to the death of Bakare and vowed to bring the perpetrators to book. Also, in a swift reaction, government also denied involvement of LASTMA in an incident which led to the death of a motor boy attached to a Tanker in Apapa area of the state on the fateful day which was said to be one of the reasons for the mob attacked Bakare.

As a result of the incident, a mob in the area had gathered to stone the said LASTMA Official to death.

Bakare, a level 14 officer, was said to have been attacked by the irate mob due to a loose comment by a passer-by, while his two eyes were removed and stabbed, after which he was stoned to death.

Addressing a press briefing on the incident, the State’s Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofiu Elegushi condemned the brutal murder of the officer, saying that the development was one death too many and most unfortunate.

Elegushi, alongside the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Mr. Chris Olakpe and the General Manager of the Agency, Bashir Braimoh, said the officer was killed for an incident he knew  nothing about, adding that it was painful that LASTMA officials were being given raw deals either by the people they were meant to serve or security officers, and that such must stop.

“Officer Bakare did not lose his life to an accident. No. His life was taken by persons whose only response to an incident is to resort to “jungle justice” even when they were unsure of what transpired. Our officer was murdered by blood thirsty hounds who parade themselves as purveyors of transportation,” Elegushi said.

He said the gallant officer was brought down in a situation where LASTMA was clearly not culpable, and urged the Nigerian Police to do a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to book, saying justice must prevail. Contrary to earlier insinuation, the Commissioner said an eye witness account revealed that LASTMA vehicle did not kill anyone, but that it was the driver of the said Tanker that killed his motor boy who was asleep under the vehicle.

Speaking authoritatively, Elegushi alleged that the mob action was carried out by Tanker drivers, Okada riders and other persons who live around them, all of whom he said were persons violating traffic laws, adding that the deceased LASTMA officer was a victim of forceful take-over of roads by a group of people who desire to become a law unto themselves.