The Lagos State Special Offences (Mobile) Court sitting at Bolade, Oshodi has sentenced one Omotutu Bamidele to two years in prison for parading himself as an official of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA).
Bamidele, 55, had been arrested over the weekend in the Ikoyi area of the state for impersonation and extortion of money from motorists across the state.
He had confessed to have been in the business for a long time and raked in about N1m monthly, adding that he and his men put on reflective jackets with LASTMA written on them.
“I live with my younger brother in one of the army barracks in Lagos. I usually operate in Ikoyi, Obalende, Apongbon Bridge, Iporin and Olowu. I apprehend commercial and private cars for violating the state’s traffic laws, which include driving against traffic (one-way).
PDP replaces Ayu with Umar Damagum
We make over N1m monthly– Fake LASTMA official
“I and my men rake in an average of N35,000 daily; extorting unsuspecting members of the public.
“Any motorist, particularly private car owner, I catch dropping someone at any undesignated bus stop pays between N15,000 and N20,000, while those caught for driving against traffic pay a minimum of N35,000 as fine,” he had said.
The Prosecutor, Barr. Olufemi Adekunle, told the court that Bamidele “did impersonate as a public officer by representing as staff of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (S.78 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015) and obtain by fraudulent trick (Sec. 323 of the Criminal Law, Lagos State).”
The Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Mr. Adebayo Taofiq, in a statement on Monday said the presiding magistrate, Kehinde Ogundare, sentenced Bamidele to a two-year jail term without any option of fine after he pleaded guilty to the charges.
Reacting to the judgement, LASTMA General Manager, Mr Bolaji Oreagba, said the ruling was a welcome development as it would serve as a deterrent to others.
He said, “Our Monitoring and Surveillance Unit which has now been fully restructured will continue to hunt for other bad elements disturbing the peace of the society.”
Oreagba urged motorists, particularly commercial bus operators, to adhere strictly to the dictates of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 and avoid attacking Officers of the agency.