Michael James, a driver, has accused officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and men of the Lagos State Police Command, aided by thugs, of beating him and removing his teeth for allegedly driving against traffic.
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The incident happened on Lateef Jakande Road, Ikeja Local Government Area of the state.
James said the men tried to dispossess him of his vehicle and when he refused, he was beaten until he lost two teeth and suffered damages to his gums.
James said the policemen and LASTMA officials released him and handed his vehicle to him after realising that he was bleeding profusely, adding that he had spent over N80,000 on medical expenses.
“I was on my way to our factory on Adeniyi Jones to convey nylon for my boss, but as I drove through Lateef Jakande Road, three officials of LASTMA, two other guys and three armed policemen suddenly stopped me. I asked what I had done and they said I drove against the traffic. I became surprised because I was the only person they stopped as other vehicles driving on the same lane were not stopped. I had been plying that route since 2001 and no one had ever stopped me for driving against the traffic.
“I was still explaining to them when one of them attempted to forcefully remove the vehicle’s key; I pleaded with them but they overpowered me and pushed me out of the vehicle. I held one of them firmly and we both landed on the ground and the LASTMA officials seized the opportunity to drive my vehicle away. The remaining officials and policemen started beating me, while I was on the ground and in the process, they knocked out two of my teeth and my gum was affected,” he told Punch Metro.
“When they saw that I was bleeding heavily, they stopped beating me and ordered me to enter the commercial bus they were using to operate and drove me down to Anthony bus stop, where my vehicle was parked. When we got there, they said I should bring my phone, but I told them that I would not release my phone to them unless they killed me.
“I called my boss, who connected me with an official, who intervened and after realising that the road where I was accosted was not one-way, they were instructed to release my vehicle.”
James, who said the incident happened on March 24, 2021, said some days later he used the same route and asked one of the LASTMA officials who had assaulted him if the road is a one-way and he said no. He added that he was able to secretly take the photograph of the official, who could not recognise him because he had a mask on.
Olumide Filade, spokesman for LASTMA, said the incident will be investigated and the suspects made to face disciplinary action.