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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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HomeNationalOne way: Lagos communities where policemen, govt workers remove road signs, extort...

One way: Lagos communities where policemen, govt workers remove road signs, extort motorists

Following the clampdown on motorists who drive against traffic in Lagos State, some drivers have accused the police and some government workers of taking advantage of the situation to extort money from them.

The Lagos State Government recently auctioned 134 vehicles confiscated for driving against traffic.

The exercise was greeted with mixed reactions, as some motorists and commuters shared experiences of driving on unmarked roads.

While some claimed that the officials deliberately removed traffic signage in order to mislead unsuspecting drivers, others stated that traffic wardens hid from being seen in order to ambush motorists who entered the roads.

 

According to Punchng report, during visits to some areas identified by residents, validated some of the claims.

On Olojojo Road, in the Iyana-Oworo area of Lagos State, residents lamented the removal of the one-way road sign attached to a pole at the Vitality Junction.

They accused the policemen stationed at the junction of removing the signage to aid extortion.

Motorists heading for the area are expected to either keep to the left into Peluola Street or turn right into Onabanjo Street once they get to the junction.

However, due to the absence of the signage, some drivers move straight ahead, which is a one-way axis, and as a result get arrested.

Our correspondent, who visited the community on Friday, learnt that many motorists had been arrested and extorted by the policemen at the junction despite the absence of a road sign.

A shop owner close to the junction, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said community youths were tired of fixing the signage only for it to be removed.

He said, “The youths in the area have fixed the signage to the pole several times, but it does not last more than a month. We later discovered that the police officers were the ones removing it. They put it in their car and dispose of it. They have nothing doing at the junction other than to wait for vehicles to take the one-way route and arrest them. Extorting money from motorists at the spot has become their daily routine. They arrest not less than 10 to 20 cars daily.”

We gathered that there was a traffic warden box at the junction which also bore the signage, but it was destroyed during the #EndSARS protest.

Another resident, who only gave his name as Tiamiyu because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said, “Their extortion was minimal when the traffic box was there, as they could not remove it then. But it has become easy for them to remove it from the pole now, and no one can question them. Most times, people signal to vehicles who enter the road to turn into a filling station at the junction so they won’t be arrested. The attendants at the filling station also try to redirect some of the motorists into their station and as a result, the police officers are not in good terms with them. They feel they are spoiling business for them.”

A tricycle rider, who identified himself as Kola Afolabi, said the officers used motorcycles to chase their victims.

“But since the government banned Okada, some of them wait in between or at the end of the one-way axis to stop and arrest vehicles. You also see them sitting at a beer parlour opposite the filling station where they use the money to drink,” he added.

Our correspondent decided to observe and confirm the allegations.

This reporter watched as a Lexus SUV was accosted at the junction for a similar offence.

The occupants of the vehicle were seen pleading with the policemen, who were seated in their van, marked, ‘Nigeria Police, Oworonsoki Division.’

The unsettled driver, who spoke to our correspondent briefly after the encounter, claimed that it was his first time in the area.

He did not disclose if he paid anything to the men and how much.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, denied knowledge of the activities of the policemen at the location.

He said, “I am not aware of their activities and I have not received such complaints; absolutely nothing. I am hearing this for the first time. If you have any evidence, please let me know so that we can locate these corrupt officers and deal with them.”

A legal practitioner, Yemi Omodele, who confirmed the extortion in the area, said commuters must start pressing charges.

He said, “Any commuter caught wrongly should demand evidence of the offence. They should press charges. If there is no sign there, then the law should be silent about committing a crime. They should let them know that they have rights. Laws do not work that way.

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