Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at least two innocent persons, incidentally, pedestrians, lost their lives in a Road Traffic Crash in the Isolo area of Lagos state.
According to reports by The Punch, eyewitnesses said men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials, aided by a policeman, chased a motorist who allegedly contravened the state road traffic law.
An eyewitness, who gave his name simply as Usman, said, “The LASTMA chased the driver. One of the law enforcement officers was dragging the steering wheel with the driver and in the course of that, the driver lost control and rammed into some passengers. About four people died.”
Reacting, LASTMA’s spokesperson, Adebayo Taofiq, in a statement said the driver of the blue Toyota Sienna bus (AKD 944 HN) was apprehended for driving against traffic.
He said, “On their way, and in an attempt by the driver to escape, he diverted into Bayo Oyewale Street by Ago Roundabout and rammed into a fully loaded tricycle.
“While the tricycle operator died instantly, a pregnant woman later died at the hospital while two injured school children are currently in the Intensive Care Unit receiving medical attention.
“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 in the fatal accident.”
Also, in March 2023, there were reports that a LASTMA Officer removed the ignition key from a moving car, while the driver was driving at Oshodi. The driver was said to have escaped a trailer accident and later ran into a Toyota Corolla. Aside these aforementioned cases, many other incidents are hardly reported.
This modus operandi of LASTMA is archaic and barbaric and not in tandem with modern trends, as it has led to the death of some many motorists and pedestrians on Lagos roads.
LASTMA should borrow a leaf from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the other hand, which does not chase erring motorists.
We call on the Lagos state government to immediately order LASTMA to stop henceforth the chasing of erring motorists, but rather rely on technology to apprehend them.
Though doing a good job on Lagos roads, LASTMA is unfortunately bedeviled by unscrupulous elements who connive with some police men and area boys to harass and extort Lagos motorists.
If an erring motorist cannot be safely apprehended, the interest of other road users should be considered and not endangered. Like the saying goes, it is better for a criminal to go free than for 10 innocent persons to suffer.