28th July, 2010
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress has condemned in strong terms, the reported consistent brutalization of the men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) by armed members of the Nigerian armed forces on private duties.
The party describes these series of attacks as not only unlawful but a clear case of perpetrating illegality against innocent citizens that are doing their duties for the state.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the AC, Joe Igbokwe, Lagos AC said that members of the Nigerian armed forces must be made to adhere to the tenets of democracy if we are not to degenerate into a lawless state.
It therefore calls for a full investigation into the alleged brutalization of LASTMA officials by soldiers and that all those found culpable must be punished to serve as a deterrent to others who might be planning to carry out similar infractions against members of LASTMA.
“In the first instance, we believe it is illegal for members of the Nigerian armed forces to be engaged as private escorts to sundry interests for the purpose of escaping security checks. We see it as a gross act of indiscipline and illegality for soldiers to obstruct LASTMA officials from doing their legal duties on Lagos roads. We believe that Nigeria should not be turned into a lawless country where armed security men are allowed to not only perpetrate illegalities but take the laws into their own hands.
“Members of the Nigerian armed forces must be made to adhere to the ethos and tenets of a democratic society and the best way to make them do so is to strictly confine them to their duties and punish excesses from members of the armed forces and all other security personnel. The attacks on LASTMA men, if proved to be true, is one of such excesses that must be investigated and culprits must be punished severely to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Lagos AC lauds the critical role LASTMA officials are playing to ease transportation difficulties in Lagos. We fully support their sacrifices to ensure that traffic bottlenecks are minimally reduced for the effective movement of Lagosians. Oftentimes, we wonder what the situation would have been like in Lagos, with increasing population and vehicular challenges, if LASTMA was not there. Even as we acknowledge the excesses of some members of LASTMA, we believe, like most Lagosians, that the advantages of the agency far outweigh its shortfalls and as such, we demand the full cooperation of all Lagosians for the agency while calling that excesses be reported to relevant authorities for proper sanctions.
“Lagos AC is insisting that the widespread reports on the attack of LASTMA men and personnel by armed personnel be properly investigated by both the Lagos State government and the security agencies so that culprits would be punished. We warn that allowing these acts of brigandage to continue will only breed anarchy and doom for the entire country. We want a stop put to this act immediately and that LASTMA should be allowed to do the laudable work they are doing in Lagos.”