By Dipo Olowookere
No fewer than 24 employees of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have been dismissed from the traffic control agency in the past two years. The affected workers were fired over cases bordering on corruption, abuse of office, extortion, impropriety and other misconduct.
Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Mr Christian Olakpe, in an interview in Lagos, also said at least 10 personnel of the agency have also been lost to death in the period under review, while some others have suffered injuries with some resulting in amputation in the course of carrying out their duties.
According to Mr Olakpe, LASTMA has also punished erring officers and men in some other ways including suspension, rank reduction and isolation, adding that the authority had received numerous complaints against its officers.
“There are various avenues we use to checkmate the misconducts of officials on duty,” Mr Olakpe said.
“We initiated LASTMA Response Unit to carry out investigations on such complaints.
”The Provost Unit was also created to mete out punishment on any of them found guilty.
“We have dismissed 24 personnel in the last two years as a result of corruption, abuse of office, extortion, impropriety and other misconduct.
“Eagle’s eye is on officers on duty to ensure zero tolerance to corruption,” he said.
According to him, LASTMA is creating a new culture of effective human relations and efficient traffic management.
“We are keying more into the rule of law, and our officers are driving more into protocol of arrest.
“You can’t just stop people and start fighting them on the road.
”We have trained our officers to be very civil and polite while carrying out their duties.
“It is unfortunate that about 10 of our officers and men were killed while controlling traffic, like Mr Bakare Olatunji, who was killed at Apapa while on duty.
“Some of our men also suffered injuries from irate mobs while managing traffic.
“We are working with the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
“It is a big task handling traffic management in Lagos state,” he said.
According to him, the authority has come up with 10-point agenda to check the excesses of both drivers and LASTMA personnel on duty to achieve efficiency and discipline.
He said that LASTMA was also collaborating with other agencies to achieve the goals.
Mr Olakpe appealed for cooperation of Lagos residents with LASTMA workers.
The LASTMA boss also appealed to motorists to drive carefully and obey traffic rules and regulations.
“We need people’s cooperation to ensure sanity and free flow of traffic on the roads which is our mandate,” he said.
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