LASTMA vs Soldiers: 15 wounded as officials vacate duty posts

LASTMA vs Soldiers: 15 wounded as officials vacate duty posts

The ongoing feud between officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and some soldiers have left no fewer than 15 officials of the latter injured, Emperorblog has learned.

The crisis, predominantly in Lagos, was a consequence of an earlier rift between officials of the both security agencies.

The LASTMA officials had reportedly attacked a soldier in the Oshodi area of Lagos following an altercation that ensued between the soldier and one of the traffic officials.

Sources said that the soldier whose identity was yet to be confirmed, was in a vehicle that was apprehended by LASTMA officials for violating traffic rules and that trouble began when the  soldier appealed to the LASTMA officials to allow the driver of the vehicle to go because of him but the official refused and ordered all passengers in the vehicle to alight, for the vehicle to be taken to LASTMA yard in Oshodi.

As the altercation soon degenerated into a fight with the LASTMA officials outnumbering and overpowering the soldier, he was reportedly beaten and dragged to the ground by the LASTMA officials, as seen in a viral video.

Following a reprisal attack by some soldiers, 15 officials of LASTMA have been badly injured while others have withdrawn from their duty posts over fear of being attacked again.

From Ojota to Mile 2, yesterday, there was no sight of the officials. Those on the BRT lanes were not exempted from the withdrawal either.

A commercial bus driver plying Oshodi/NAHCO route, Mr Andrew James said: “LASTMA officials should be retrained on human relations. The attacked soldier was heard telling the officials that he had an iron in his hand. Even if he was not a soldier, no human being deserved to be treated that way.”

It was learned that some LASTMA officials were also attacked yesterday, by some persons in mufti, who claimed to be soldiers, in the Ojota area of the state.

At 1 p.m., most of the officials had vacated their duty posts in major areas of Lagos, as news of the attack spread.

One of the officials at 7/8 Junction, Ajao Estate, was sighted removing his uniform at 9 a.m., yesterday, to avoid being identified.

Speaking to newsmen, the LASTMA official said: “I had to take this measure because if anyone is killed in the process, nothing will be done. This is not the first time soldiers will attack members of other government agencies. Even when it resulted in the death of some policemen, nothing was done about it. This case should have been resolved by now by both authorities. It should not be allowed to escalate.

“No fewer than 15 of my colleagues have been wounded since this crisis started. My colleagues have all vacated their duty posts because news went round that the soldiers were out for LASTMA officials in Lagos.”

Another official at the Ikotun area of Lagos said: “Yes, we have withdrawn from the road because nobody knows where or when they will strike. We got a text from our platform to withdraw for our own good.

“But we were advised to stand-by pending when the matter will be resolved. For me, I am not even close to my duty post because nobody knows if they are working with community people that will identify us.”

While the Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment, LASTMA, Mr. Adebayo Taofiq, said an official statement would be issued soon, the Nigerian Army has condemned the soldiers’ action while describing it as “misconduct.”

The Army further affirmed its commitment to promoting traffic compliance among its personnel following the incident.

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