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Policemen, LASTMA officials arrested for alleged extortion

• Police suspend ‘Operation Velvet’, give one month grace for Lagosians to regularize vehicle documents
The Lagos State police command has arrested four policemen and three Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials for their alleged involvement in extorting a motorist in the state. Spokesman of the command, CSP Chike Oti, who made the disclosure, noted that the officials were caught trying to extort a motorist whom they gave an account number for payment of the bribe.

The arrested officers are Inspector Charles Omokaro, Inspector Idara Akai, Sergeant Chidi Mordi and Sergeant Joseph Bernard, while the LASTMA officials are Mr. Sam Adekunle, Mr. Omolaja Ige and Mrs. Modinat Folashade. “The attention of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, was this morning, 30/10/2018, drawn to a publication in a national newspaper, captioned “Police as cesspit of corruption”. The reporter drew attention to the underhand dealings of some policemen he ran into on his way to Festac Town. He alleged that the men took him to First Gate of Festac Town, which they have turned to an extortion point.

“Sequel to the information gained from the publication, the CP directed the Area Commander in-charge of Area E, Festac, ACP Yusuf Ajape and the officer in charge of the command’s X-Squad Section, SP Aliu Abubakar, to carry out a covert operation around the aforementioned location leading to the arrest of the following policemen and LASTMA officials,” he said.

According to Oti, “they were caught trying to extort one Mr. Waheed Lamidi, whom they gave a Diamond bank account number 0020558133, titled Femi Adebanji to transfer the sum of N75, 000 to when he complained that he had no cash. The CP Lagos has directed that the suspects be brought to the Command Headquarters, X-Squad section, for thorough investigation and appropriate disciplinary action if found guilty.

“In the same vein, the CP says the command would always welcome opinions, comments and criticism geared towards helping the force rid bad eggs in its midst and improve service delivery and not comments designed to debase or ridicule the force.”

Meanwhile, the state police command have suspended the ongoing operation velvet for a period of one month with effect from yesterday to enable vehicle and motorcycle owners time to regularise their documents. 

The operation, aimed at enforcing all relevant traffic laws to restore orderliness on the roads and highways, was put on hold for a month owing to the appeal of the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and the members of the House of Assembly.

However, the command wishes to warn all road users that the grace period should not be interpreted as a period of lawlessness on the city roads but a time allowed to get the vehicle documents and necessary permits together. It also warned that the command will continue to enforce laws against driving on BRT lanes, parking at unauthorised places thereby causing gridlock and driving against traffic (one way).

In this article:
Charles OmokaroLASTMA
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