March 26, 2023

We make N35,000 daily from extortion, says arrested fake LASTMA officer

We make N35,000 daily from extortion, says arrested fake LASTMA officer

.As LASTMA launches manhunt after others

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, weekend, arrested another suspected serial fake traffic officer of the agency, Mr. Omotutu Bamidele, 55, around Ikoyi area of the state.

Bamidele, the suspect, who hailed from ‘Atijere Town’ in Ondo State, However, confessed that he and his colleagues still at large were making an average of N35,000 from extortion acts on daily basis.

The suspect, confessed to have been impersonating with a reflective jacket as a LASTMA officer and extorting money from motorists particularly private car owners/ drivers at highbrow areas across the state.

Meanwhile, the General Manager, LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, confirmed that the suspect was nabbed at Olu Holloway Road by Alfred Rewane area of Ikoyi by a men of the agency’s Monitoring/Surveillance team, led by Mr. Ashafa Moyosore (Zonal Head).

Oreagba, confirmed further that the Agency carried out a special monitoring/Surveillance operations about the suspect and got him arrested in response to complaints from motoring public (Obinna Kingsley and Adewusi Adebola) via LASTMA hotlines/social media handles.

According to Oreagba, “investigation conducted revealed that the arrested suspect have 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 warned motoring public to desists from inducing traffic officers in any form (money) as both the giver and taker are liable before the law,” Oregaba charges.

He however warned other impersonators disguising as LASTMA personnel to immediately desist from such illegal acts as more surveillance personnel have been strategically deployed to hunt for them.

Suspect confesses

Bamidele, who confirmed to be living with his junior brother inside one of the Army Barracks in Lagos, confessed further to have operated around Ikoyi, Obalende, Apongbon Bridge, Iporin, Olowu areas apprehending both commercial and private cars for various traffic infractions, including driving against traffic (One-Way).

According to him, “Any motorists 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.”

One Mr. Adewusi Adebola (a complainant) confirmed that the suspect (Bamidele) apprehended him for ‘obstruction’ on March 6, 2023 around Spac Bus smStop by Awolowo Road, Ikoyi and collected N20,000 from him for dropping his colleagues.

While, Obinna Kingsley complaint via one of the LASTMA social media handles (Twitter) that he was forced to transfer N50,000 to the arrested suspect Bamidele for ‘Obstruction’ on Awolowo Road by Obalende Bridge towards Tafawa Balewa Square, T.B.S.

One of the victims of Bamidele, Mr. Adewusi Adebola owner of a Toyota Corolla (LSR 299 AY), when contacted simply said, “Honestly speaking i had written series of negative stories about activities of LASTMA on social media particularly on ‘Twitter’ since the ugly incidents happened

“Until i was called by LASTMA, management that the man i reported that extorted money from me was a fake traffic officer and that he has been arrested.”

Meanwhile, the Director, Legal Department (LASTMA) Barr. Akerele Kehinde, disclosed that the arrested suspect would be charged to court with all items recovered from him (fake identity card and a reflective jacket) as exhibit son Monday, March, 27, 2023 in accordance with the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.