“We won’t abuse the relationship,” LASTMA tells Army despite face-off in Lagos

OPERATIVES of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) says it has agreed to strengthen partnership on traffic management in Lagos with the Nigerian Army.

This development was at the core of the incidents that happened between Army officers and a LASTMA official who was on traffic enforcement duty. 

A statement by the Director of Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq, on Tuesday, August 15, said the operatives would continue to rely on continuous support from the Nigerian Army and other security agencies across the State.

The video, which was circulated on August 8 on social media, showed the face-off between the two security forces, with a LASTMA official seen using a wooden object against a soldier who had initially hit the official with his hand.

Subsequently, on Monday, August 14, another video emerged, capturing a distressing scene where about seven individuals in Army uniform were seen assaulting the LASTMA official. The masked soldiers, suspected to be on a revenge mission, mobbed the official before leaving the scene.

Reacting to this during a working visit by Officials of the 9 Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, the General Manager of LASTMA Bolaji Oreagba, maintained that the organisation “won’t abuse the relationship nor take the cordiality and warm friendliness which has existed between the Army and Lastma for granted.”

Although, he described the incident as unfortunate, Oreagba said there is no love lost between the two agencies, adding that Lastma personnel would continue to rely on continuous support from the Nigerian Army and other security agencies across the State.

He emphasized that the recurrence of such incidents would be prevented through the continued utilisation of established communication channels, stating that additional new hotlines will be explored by the two agencies always to resolve issues.

In his speech, the Commander of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Adegoke Moses Adetuyi, stressed the importance of unity among security agencies to prevent the success of negative elements. 

He also called for improved collaboration among government bodies, including Lastma, to achieve this goal.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army had on Monday, August 14, described the clash between soldiers and officials LASTMA, as disturbing. 

The force spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu said, “I must say it is very disturbing that soldiers/LASTMA conflict is now one too many.

“The authorities of the Nigerian Army are genuinely concerned and are embarking on vigorous sensitisation campaign to educate our personnel on the need to ensure compliance with traffic rules and promote synergy and interagency cooperation in Lagos State and around the country.”

However, in their statements, the two agencies did not clearly indicate whether the officers involved would face disciplinary measures or not.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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