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Danfo Driver Batters LASTMA Official

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A commuter bus driver has allegedly battered an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, who was trying to arrest him for violating the BRT law in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The driver, Hakeem Ojurongbe, on Wednesday at Palm Grove area on Ikorodu road was said to have pounced on the LASTMA official, Mr. Abiodun Onafeko, and gave him a thorough beating.  Blood oozed from Onafeko’s mouth and his clothes were drenched with blood.

The 33-year old driver who hails from Ago Owu area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, was said to have confessed that he drove on the BRT dedicated lane from Palm grove to Onipanu as a result of traffic gridlock on the carriage way and revealed further that a taxi painted in Lagos colour was used to blocked his exit from the lane.

The LASTMA official, Onafeko, explained that he was carrying out his official assignment along the corridor when he accosted the traffic offender and used his digital camera to capture the offence.

He said his action infuriated the driver, which led to his being beaten, and his camera smashed by the driver and his cohorts who escaped after the attack.

According to Onafeko, a police officer named Wada intervened and saved him from being killed, adding that it was at this time the driver ordered his conductor to leave the scene with the vehicle.

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The driver  was arraigned on Thursday at the Special Court at the premises of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, Alausa on a five-count charge .

The charge included assault, BRT violation, reckless and dangerous driving, driving without valid driver’s license and breach of peace. He pleaded guilty to the BRT violation but pleaded not guilty to all other four charges.

The driver’s conductor, 27-year old Ige James, who was earlier at large, walked into the Task force office to seek the release of the offender under the guise of being a brother, but he was  arrested and slammed with two-count charged of assault and breach of peace.

Magistrate Yetunde Pinheiro, however granted the accused person bail of N100, 000 in like sum and a surety with landed property in Lagos State; and must be a relative, gainfully employed and must have evidence of tax payment till date.  She adjourned the case till 23 November, 2012.

General Manager, LASTMA, Engr. Babatunde Edu appealed to members of the public to desist from attacking the traffic officers, saying whenever members of the public are aggrieved about LASTMA activities, they should not hesitate to complain at LASTMA Headquarters rather than taking the laws into their hands.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga 

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