May 31, 2023

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Truckers write LASG, decry extortion by LASTMA, LG officials

Truckers write LASG, decry extortion by LASTMA, LG officials

Truckers under the aegis of the Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) have written to the Lagos State Government lamenting incessant extortion of truckers by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), local government officials in charge of traffic management and the committee on the removal of abandoned vehicles.

The letter, which was signed by Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, accused the traffic officials of conniving with hoodlums to extort truckers.

According to Ogungbemi, truckers pay between N100,000 and N200, 000 to some of these traffic officials to secure release of their trucks after they have been forcefully hijacked.

The letter reads, “We are using this medium to draw the attention of the Lagos State Government on the worrisome and increasing ignoble activities of its traffic agencies and some local governments traffic departments in charge of traffic management and control in Lagos State.

“Some of these agencies and their activities are as follows: the committee on the removal of abandoned vehicles.

“This traffic agency invades various empty container depots and warehouses at midnight to hijack trucks. They always go with hoodlums that are armed with dangerous weapons. They beat and injure drivers and their motor boys in the process of hijacking trucks. They forcefully collect trucks from drivers and drive the trucks away to their various yards and book the trucks as being towed. They slam bills ranging between 100k – 200k as ransom before the trucks can be released. The amount can only be reduced if you know somebody at the top.

“There are too many unscrupulous elements amongst the LASTMA officials. They go about like hawks searching for chickens to catch. They arrest trucks that have not committed any traffic infraction indiscriminately and unnecessarily day and night.

“In most cases, they don’t correct drivers on following the right way. If a driver misses or is about to miss his way, instead of correcting the driver, they’ll rather hide and wait for the driver to enter the wrong way before coming out to make an arrest and impose a heavy penalty.


“They arrest and slam penalties for any breakdown, forgetting that no amount of maintenance   can totally prevent the breakdown of any mechanism anywhere in the world including trucks. The breakdown of trucks has become their means of bread and butter. They always impose 100k – 150k just for removing a breakdown truck from the road whereas we normally pay 20k to 30k to private towing operators to move our breakdown trucks depending on the location and distances.

“Some local governments are also involved in blocking and arresting trucks on federal and state roads in order to impose their fines in collaboration with hoodlums.

“Most of traffic agencies work with Street Urchins (Area boys) all over the State metropolis. Apart from working as their informants, these hoodlums sometimes deliberately immobilize trucks by loosening truck breaks, deflate tyres, remove truck battery and container hooks in order force driver to settle them or invite LASG traffic agencies to come and arrest, tow or drive them to their yard under such questionable circumstances and slam outrageous bills.

“Therefore, in the light of the above, we are appealing to the Lagos State Governor Mr. Babaji Sanwo-Olu as a matter of urgency, to look into the devouring activities of traffic agencies in Lagos State in collaboration with hoodlums before it gets out of hands or leads to the breakdown of law and order in the state.”




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