LASTMA, Viju officials clash leaves 10 injured

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There was pandemonium, on Tuesday, after a fight broke out among some officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and those of Viju Company at the Oba Akran Avenue area of Ikeja, the state capital.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the incident occurred at midnight, resulting in multiple injuries to victims.

It was also learnt that one of the Viju Company’s motorboys had been shot, while others sustained hand stab wounds.

A video sent to our correspondent showed injured victims with blood on the hands, faces, and clothing of the LASTMA officials and Viju workers.

Speaking with PUNCH Metro, a driver at Viju, simply identified as Seyi, stated that soldiers, LASTMA officials, and touts came to impound their trucks at midnight and, in the process, stabbed his hand when he decided to fight back.

“We were sleeping on top of the truck, and we were not aware of anything. Some boys were just shouting that they were already parking the vehicles. We approached them and asked why they would be impounding vehicles at odd hours. LASTMA officials, soldiers, and touts who came were up to 100. When I decided to fight back, they used an axe to stab my back. I was surprised that soldiers came for such an operation.”

Another Viju official, Issa Tijani, said they had threatened to send the arrested individuals to Kirikiri Prison, adding that they must pay N700,000 to free their vehicles.

He said, “They did not just raid Viju Company but also the whole neighbourhood. I wonder how they were sure that the people who were involved were the staff members of Viju. The issue on the ground currently is that they told them that they would carry all those guys to Kirikiri Prison for no reason because, firstly, they are not sure if they are the ones. Also, they told them to come and bail their vehicles for N700,000, which I think is not fair, and it is suspicious that they came at midnight. They also broke a bottle on my head

A driver at Viju Company, Ismalia Asuma said, “I did not do anything for the LASTMA officials. We were sleeping on top of trucks when they came to raid. They came with soldiers, the task force, and ‘agberos’ (touts) to attack them. They even shot me in the back because I did not do anything.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, LASTMA, Adebayo Taofeeq, said the residents filed a petition complaining about Viju trucks impeding the road, adding that 54 vehicles were impounded in the area around 12 a.m.

“We received a petition from the residents about the Viju milk truck drivers blocking the road left and right and turning the dual lane into one lane. We even wrote a petition to the Lagos State Parking Authority. We acted on the direction of the Honourable Special Adviser on Transportation, Sola Giwa. By getting there on April 23 by midnight, we were able to remove 54 trucks.”

He added that some miscreants attacked the agency officials and that five individuals were arrested.

“After we completed that assignment, they went ahead to mobilise miscreants from the Agege area, and as a result of that, they injured seven of our officials. Our men did not use guns at all; the only thing we used was teargas, and we do not know if the task force people were present there.

“While LASTMA operational vehicles were vandalised, 54 Viju milk trucks were evacuated during the enforcement operations. The police, working alongside LASTMA, arrested five of these individuals (Falomo Oluwafemi, Afeniyi Stephen, Olamide Adekunle, Chukwu Guaja Eze, and Adeshina Sulaimon) and seized various weapons, including broken bottles, iron rods, charms, knives, and cutlasses.

“The injured LASTMA officers were promptly taken to the hospital for medical attention. Hon. Sola Giwa, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, stated that the arrested individuals would be prosecuted by the government as a deterrent to others.

All efforts to get the reaction of the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Lagos State Taskforce, Gbadeyan Abdulraheem, proved abortive, as he did not respond to calls and messages sent to his phone as of the time of filing this.

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