SETTING SELF ABLAZE: WE HAVE NO HAND IN IT – LAGOS TASKFORCE CHAIRMAN

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The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit {Taskforce} has said that its men and officials have no hand in the enforcement for compliance activities that led to a commercial bus driver setting himself ablaze to resist his vehicle being impounded by yet Unidentified Security Agents.
Speaking at the Agency’s Headquarters today at Safety Arena, Bolade Oshodi, Lagos, the Chairman of the Agency, CSP Shola Jejeloye in a swift reaction to  The Punch Newspaper report on the incident of a commercial bus driver who set himself ablaze to evade arrest  during Enforcement for Compliance operation, said that Taskforce have no hand in it. He said that at the time of the incident his Men were still at the base. The accusations are utterly inaccurate and misleading as investigations and eyewitness account of persons who were present at the scene of the incident have categorically revealed that the driver, one Mr Ayo aka Eru poured petrol on himself to scare the security operatives from enforcing the traffic law which he violated. After the operatives had left, luck ran out on him and some of the hoodlums present mistook him for one of the security operatives and set him ablaze.
The Chairman further stated that the barbaric act of setting self ablaze, robbing self with faeces, chasing law enforcement officers with urine and other crazy acts are now the new wave of resisting arrest by recalcitrant  Motorists who have developed the habit and passion for violating the State Traffic and Enviromental laws. He however said that if they are bold enough to be serial law breakers, they should be courageous enough to face the consequences of their illegal actions rather than constituting nuisance on Lagos road.
Jejeloye further narrated how one Mr Festus Ugbesia age 40 of Mafoluku area of Oshodi who claimed to be the owner of the bus drove the victim from the scene of the incident down to the Agency Headquarters, inciting member of  public against the Agency that the officials of the Taskforce had been fingered for setting the victim ablaze, but it later dawned on him that Taskforce had no hand in it when he discoverded that our Men and officials were still on the parade ground preparing for the task of the day while the transport department of the Agency was still sourcing for petrol for their operational vehicles at the Agency Headquarters.
CSP Jejeloye further stated that “We have had many instances where imposters carry out illegal activities and mention the name of Taskforce in the process thereby leading to people pointing accusing fingers at us. We have arrested a few of the these imposters and we will keep doing so until they desist from tarnishing the image of the Agency”.
He further stressed that not all security operative you see on Lagos Roads are attached to Taskforce. Officials of Taskforce are trained, enlightened, educated, professionals and equipped enough to distinguish between traffic offence and criminal offence. Traffic offence is not a criminal offence, as such, minimal or zero force has to be applied in carrying out the enforcement. “Enforcement all over the world is not a tea party and in most cases, it is not people friendly, that is the reason Taskforce operatives do not get any support from passers by during their operations rather what is always obtainable is little truths but massive lies against the agency”. Jejeloye said.
CSP Jejeloye stated that the officials of Taskforce assisted the victim to quickly get medical attention from Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) as part of our patriotic act and corporate social responsibility . ‘’Let me emphasise here that for us as an Agency of Government we believe that it is better for us to allow an offender to go unharmed than to cause an injury. The officials of the Agency are being led by Senior Police Officers who are well trained and exposed. We are civilsed, educated and professional to allow such incident happen during any of enforcement operation”. He stated.
Taskforce Chairman admonished all recalcitrant offenders that traffic offence is not a criminal offence, they should keep faith with the country’s Judicial system and summon courage to submit self for prosecution at the Court for the offence committed, it is better and cheaper for them to face the reality of the offence they committed, rather than being evasive or demonstrating insanity to escape arrest which is no longer acceptable to us. Nigerians are no fools.
 Jejeloye advised members of public to be vigilant, report any suspicious activities around them to the Agency and help the Agency in her drive to fish out fake policemen parading themselves as Taskforce officials.
He enjoined Lagosians to support the Agency in her efforts to instil discipline and achieve the State vision of zero tolerance for driving against traffic and other related offences. Taskforce was created to maintain law, order and sanity where there is none. Enforcement of traffic laws is not a tea party as the offender would do anything humanly possible to escape justice, and in the process, the offender can kill, maim and cause serious injury to innocent members of the public in his bid to escape from the scene.
Though the incident which occurred is highly unfortunate and regrettable, I would like to clearly state that it was not carried out by officials of the Lagos State Taskforce, infact we are too careful and professional to allow such operations degenerate into that ugly incident. I would like to urge Lagosians particularly the media practitioners to tow the line of best practices and verify their findings scientifically before publication. The use of Taskforce branded vehicle by the Punch Newspaper is misleading and a misrepresentation of facts. At this point of our Nation’s history, there is need for us to be very careful in our reportage to avoid inciting members of the public against Government agencies. The Endsars impasse is still fresh in our memory and we must avoid a repeat of that ugly incident.

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