A group of policemen have purportedly assaulted and injured Roland Fuludu, a senior officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), for challenging them over creating operational differences and collecting bribes.
It was learnt that the incident occurred at the Eleganza area of Apapa in Lagos State on Monday.
The traffic officer was said to have been beaten by policemen led by one Femi Iwasokun, a Superintendent of Police.
Narrating his ordeal in an interview, Fuludu said he and his LASTMA colleagues were controlling traffic at the aforementioned area in Apapa when six policemen came in the guise of also controlling traffic.
He explained that the policemen opened a section of the road that was under construction for motorists, who only passed after giving bribe.
The LASTMA officer’s problem arose after he challenged one of the policemen for refusing access to a motorist that passed through the normal route.
He stated that Iwasokun, who was not on the scene at the time, later came and slapped him on the face, while one of the other policemen hit him on the head with a stick, which made him fall and lose consciousness.
“Around 9am on Monday, six policemen came and said they were asked to start turning vehicles back and nobody was against them doing their job. When they wanted to open the road that was under construction for motorists, they said we should reach a compromise and be collecting money from the motorists, but I declined and left them,” Fuludu told the Punch.
“When they turned a vehicle that passed through the normal route back, I went to ask one of them why they would do that, but he just said he was going to hit my head with a stick; we had an argument and I called his boss, Supol Femi, to report the cop, but he too was cursing me on the phone and I dropped the call.
“Five hours later, when I was coming back from where I went to eat, I saw Supol Femi and I went to greet him, only for him to ask me why I was talking to him on the phone like that and asked if we were mates. When I told him that he did not know my age, he slapped me and his colleagues manhandled me and I fell from the pavement, where I stood, and hit my head on the floor and lost consciousness.”
An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the policemen seized the phone of one of the LASTMA officers, who was recording the incident.
“The policemen held on to the other LASTMA officers, who was recording the incident, and seized his phone, because they knew that what they did by beating an officer in uniform was wrong. SP Femi is fond of aiding lawlessness among truck drivers, which makes the LASTMA job difficult.
“Police officers and other law enforcement agents on the road are to work together without confrontation and if there is any, they should find a common ground to resolve it amicably and not disgracing and humiliating each other,” the witness said.
Olumide Filade, the LASTMA Public Relations Officer, confirmed the incident, but declined further comments on the matter.