Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) denies involvement in death of pregnant woman, tricycle operator

Authorities of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, have recounted the incident that led to the death of a pregnant woman and a commercial tricyclist, popularly called Keke NAPEP, in an auto crash in the early hours on Tuesday, at Ago Palace Way, Okota area of Lagos State.

Recall that pandemonium broke out when a pregnant woman and a tricyclist, were crushed to death, while two school children sustained degree of injuries when some law enforcement agents dragged the steering wheel of a Sport Utility Vehicle, SUV, with the driver in Okota axis the state over traffic offence.

While the tricyclist reportedly died on the spot, the pregnant woman died later in the hospital while the injured school children of the deceased were currently receiving treatment after they were rushed to the hospital.

Consequently, members of the public have been pointing accusing fingers at the men of LASTMA as being responsible for the unfortunate incident.

It was gathered that some officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and some Policeman from Okota Police Station, while enforcing traffic rules, allegedly dragged the steering wheel with the driver of the Toyota Sienna, along Bayo Oyewole Street, Ago Palace way.

There were, however, contrary reports over which of the law enforcement agents was responsible for the act. Some reported that it was men of the Nigeria Police, while others fingered officials of LASTMA.

The accident, which reportedly, happened at about 9. 15 a.m., angered passers-by, particularly, the youths, who immediately mobilized, setting up burn-fire on the road in an attempt to set the police station ablaze before they (angry youths) were stopped by armed Policemen deployed.

According to an eyewitness, Kamoru Abdullahi, the accident occurred after two policemen in the company of LASTMA officials, allegedly flagged down the driver along the road for violating a traffic law.

However, in an apparent attempt to evade arrest, the driver reportedly decided to speed off but one of the Policemen, who was sitting beside the driver dragged the steering wheel to stop the vehicle.

“While they were both struggling with the steering wheel the driver in the process lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a tricycle which the pregnant woman and the three others onboard,” Abdullahi told our correspondent.

According to him, aside from the deceased passengers, the policeman who was involved in the incident also sustained injury during the crash.

Sensing danger and the extent of damage, the other Policemen and LASTMA officials took to their heels and disappeared from the axis immediately to avoid being lynched by the mob.

The policemen have been accused by motorists of extortion and excesses within the axis.

LASTMA reacts
Meanwhile, the General Manager, LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, who confirmed the development through the Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Taofiq Adebayo, in a statement, said the driver of the Sienna who drove recklessly has been arrested for prosecution.

According to Oreagba, Traffic Officer, Hassan Kehinde, of Zone 27, Okota, who led the LASTMA patrol team disclosed that a driver of a blue TOYOTA Sienna bus (AKD 944 HN) was apprehended for driving against traffic (One-way) around Ago-Palace Way, Lagos.

He disclosed further that a Policeman attached to the patrol team volunteered to escort the apprehended vehicle to LASTMA office for proper booking.

“On their way, and in an attempt by driver to escape, he diverted into Bayo Oyewale Street by Ago Round-About and rammed into a fully loaded tricycle.

“While the tricycle operator died instantly, the pregnant woman later died at the Hospital while the two injured School Children were currently, under Intensive Care Unit” receiving medical attention

“The escort policeman in the contravened vehicle equally sustained various degrees of injury as a result of the fatal auto crash.

The incident sparked off protest as a mob descended on the escort Police Officer but the timely intervention of a team of Policemen from Ago/ Okota/Ilasa Police Stations saved the Policeman from being lynched.

“Subsequently, LASTMA Yard was invaded and valuable items were vandalised including vehicles within the premises.

“It is noteworthy to mention that in an attempt to escape, the driver of the Sienna car lost control as a result of reckless driving which eventually resulted into the fatal accident.

“The management of the agency commiserate with the families of the deceased, and assured that thorough investigation will be carried out to determine the immediate and remote cause of the accident and that justice will be served appropriately,” Kehinde had reported to Oreagba.

Isolo LCDA sues for calm
Meanwhile, reacting to the incident, the Chairman of Isolo Local Council Development Authority, LCDA, Olasoju Adebayo has called for calm as he expressed his condolence to the victims’ families.

His reaction was contained in a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Rasheed Alao.

The statement read in part: “The tragic incident involving a private car that was purportedly being trailed by law enforcement agents which led to the crushing to death of the occupants of a tricycle on Bayo Oyewole Street, Okota this morning is one that has left our council badly worried.

“We wish to assure the public that investigations have commenced to determine the immediate and remote causes of the regrettable occurrence.

“Our appeal goes to the general public to exercise restraint and allow the law to take its course after diligent investigations must have been concluded. Arson and lawlessness in whatever form will only compound the situation.

“We share in the grief of the family of the deceased and pray to God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.”

LASTMA impounds JB truck for knocking down newly-erected barrier on flyover

In another development, LASTMA officials have arrested the driver and impounded a truck belonging to Julius Berger for destroying a newly erected barrier on Ojuelegba Flyover, Surulere area, inward Fadeyi, Lagos.

Sharing photographs, the agency said, “LASTMA officials on emergency rescue operations at Ojuelegba have confirmed that early this morning a Julius Berger trailer knocked down another newly erected barrier on Ojuelegba bridge inward Fadeyi, Lagos.

“LASTMA officials are on ground managing traffic that has extended back to Stadium Hotel Bus-stop around Surulere.

“LASTMA Omotosho Azeez confirmed that the driver of the Julius Berger trailer was arrested by officials of the Agency and handed over to Area ‘C’ Police Station at Ojuelegba. Management and control of traffic continue. Please drive with caution always.”

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