Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority on Wednesday nabbed a fake traffic officer around the Lekki area of Lagos.
This was revealed in a statement by the Director, Public Affairs Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq, on Thursday.
The statement quoted the General Manager of LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, as confirming that the suspect was nabbed by a patrol team while on duty monitoring and controlling traffic around the Lekki axis.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Agency revealed that the arrested suspect belonged to a criminal gang that has been extorting huge sum of money from innocent motorists apprehended for various traffic offences ranging from seat-belt violation to obstructions, illegal overtaking and one-way at different locations across the State.
According to Oreagba: “The suspect was apprehended after our patrol team sighted him fully kitted with a LASTMA uniform on a black jean collecting money from different commercial bus drivers who were illegally dropping and picking passengers under the Lekki bridge.
“It is disheartening for some unscrupulous elements impersonating as LASTMA Officials and extorting money from innocent motorists thereby denting the good image of the Agency before the public.”
Oreagba urged motorists to be wary of fake officers demanding money from them, stating that the Agency operates a cashless policy as any violator apprehended is charged to court with a “Referral Notice”.
He warned impersonators to desist from such illegal acts as more surveillance personnels have been deployed to strategic locations to hunt for those extorting innocent motorists under the pretext of belonging to the Agency.
The arrested suspect, David Oluchkwu, 27, confessed to having been impersonating as a LASTMA official and extorting money from different motorists, particularly commercial bus drivers apprehended for violating traffic laws across the State.
Oluchkwu, who hails from Ukpu in Anambra State, confessed further to be making an average of N40,000 everyday from the illegal traffic business.
He was quoted by the statement as having said: “Any motorists I catch driving against traffic (one-way) paid a minimum of N50,000, while other traffic violators were charged with different fines.”
The suspect, with no any fixed, address however appealed to the government to temper justice with mercy.
Meanwhile, the Director, Legal Department of LASTMA, Akerele Kehinde, disclosed that the arrested suspect would be charged to court on Thursday (today) in accordance with the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.