Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Sunday disclosed that no fewer than 18 officers of the State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA were mowed down or shot while managing traffic in the state this year.
Ambode also disclosed that atleast 24 officers have been rendered incapacitated over time by reckless drivers who often disobeyed the State 2012 road traffic law.
The governor disclosed these after a closed door meeting at the LASTMA Headquarters which was attended by the traffic officers, Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Hyginus Omeje and members of his cabinet.
It was gathered that over 10 LASTMA officers were mowed down last year by recalcitrant drivers while managing traffic within the state.
While disclosing the crux of their deliberation, Ambode stated that it serve as a means to commiserate with the traffic managers over death of their colleague, Rotimi Adeyemo, who was shot by a policeman attached to Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, FSARS, Olukunle Olonade, at Iyana-Ipaja roundabout in Alimosho axis.
“As at today, we have lost 18 LASTMA officers in the line of duty, just because they were performing their civic duty. I also have 24 LASTMA officers that are permanently incapacitated in various hospitals this year alone,” the governor added.
He hinted that the statistics were kept over time in order not to cause any panic or chaos in Lagos but Adeyemo’s death barely two weeks ago compelled them to release the data recorded over time.
“We have not been churning out this data, just because we believe Lagosians will understand that this men and women we put on the line of duty, are harmless and have nothing to protect themselves, except the traffic laws they tend to protect and regulate vehicle movement in the state.
“This is a sober moment for us, but again, I need to encourage and further appeal to all our other law enforcement officers, that the State Government is with them and would do everything to protect their lives and create a conducive atmosphere for them to work.”
.Orders creation of 15 mobile courts
Worried by the persistent attack, Ambode ordered that more mobile courts be established to prosecute any motorist found violating traffic law in the state.
He stressed that the state government cannot fold its arms anymore and allows drivers or anyone kill personnel working for Lagos growth and development.
According to him, we have directed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to immediately increase the number of mobile courts from five to 20 and traffic offenders will be tried instantly on the spot.
“Government will not continue to fold its arms and allow traffic officers to be in danger.
First I appeal to all you, that we must obey traffic laws, secondly, we cannot turn the state into a state of lawlessness.
“So from this moment onwards, all our security agencies and also all officers concerned to discipline any traffic offender that is arrested. Government will go down and deal squarely with any traffic offender henceforth.
We cannot allow people continue to commit offences for which we need to discipline them for. We will not allow traffic offenders to go scot-free anymore.
“The State Government does not want people to take advantage of the yuletide or because election is fast approaching we have majority of our people to protect and ensure they use the road safely,” he added.
Assuring residents that the government has intensified efforts towards boosting security, the governor disclosed that number of policemen deployed to streets have been increased basically to crime in the state.
“We assure everybody that we will enjoy a crime-scene holiday and election.
Police officers have been told to complement efforts of traffic officers and ensure that the streets are safe and that every law abiding resident goes about without fear and molestation.”
.announces N10m compensation to Adeyemo’s family
The governor disclosed that N10 million would be paid to family of the slain LASTMA officer as compensation to the family over the loss they suffered.
Earlier, Imohimi assured residents that they would synergize with other agencies within the state to restore sanity on Lagos roads.