The General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Olawale Musa, on Thursday took the statement of a PUNCHman, Emmanuel Aigbodega, who was allegedly brutalised by some traffic officials.
Musa, while assuring Aigbodega that justice would be done in the matter, said the erring officials would be referred to the personnel management board for appropriate sanctions.
The officials allegedly involved in the incident are Abdulrahman Ibrahim, Dawuda Adeyinka, Oshikoya Adedamola, Afolabi Jamiu and one other.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the men allegedly brutalised Aigbodega on April 24, 2019, in the Maryland area of the state.
The Edo State indigene, who was returning from work, was reportedly accused of being in a vehicle which allegedly allowed a traffic law violator escape.
Nigerians, while condemning the alleged action of the traffic workers, demanded that they be sanctioned.
Some human rights activists and lawyers had also urged the 38-year-old to take legal action against the agency, saying assault was a criminal offence.
In a follow-up report, LASTMA said it had withdrawn the officers from duty and isolated them pending the outcome of investigation into the incident.
The LASTMA Public Relations Officer, Mahmud Hassan, had invited Aigbodega to the agency’s office at Oshodi, saying he needed to make his complaint official.
Aigbodega honoured the invitation on Thursday as he was received by Hassan; the Deputy Head of Press, Adu Adebankole; and the Head of Monitoring and Surveillance, Apena Billiaminu.
The LASTMA GM, Musa, said the victim’s statement was required for thorough investigation, adding that the officers had responded to queries issued to them on the matter.
He stated that officers had powers to arrest traffic offenders, but had no rights to manhandle anyone.
Musa said, “Nobody has written to us to complain; it was through the newspaper report that we saw the complaint and we cannot act based on that. We are supposed to set up a disciplinary panel, but before we set up the panel, there is a civil service procedure whereby we query the officers and the officers will respond and we hear the complainant’s side of the story and then weigh it against what the officers have said in their responses and afterwards, invite them to the panel.
“So, what we are doing now is just investigation. We invited him to make his complaint official and from what he said, I have established that there is a wrongdoing on the part of my officers. I have established that he was manhandled; why it happened is irrelevant because our officers should never manhandle members of the public. They can arrest, but they are not expected to touch them. We don’t joke with disciplinary measures and I must tell you that the officers are in trouble.”
The officers, who were identified by Aigbodega during the meeting, however, denied beating him.
Musa, while apologising to Aigbodega, said the suspects would be referred to the personnel management board for further investigation.
He said, “The next line of action is that there is going to be a proper Personnel Management Board meeting on them and other outstanding issues. Although, there are bureaucracies that we have to follow because this is a government organisation, but I will write a report about what has happened and send it to the permanent secretary to act on. Leave the disciplinary aspect to us.”