Officials of Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) narrowly escaped death at the early hours of Wednesday, when they got involved in auto crash, with their vehicle somersaulting several times on the highway during hot chase of a traffic offender, along Costain expressway, Lagos.
Hoodlums, on Wednesday, attacked officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) at Costain roundabout in Lagos, vandalising one of their patrol vehicles.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the hoodlums went on rampage on suspicion that one LASTMA official allegedly hit a commercial driver with a charm while arresting him over traffic offence.
The hoodlums and commercial drivers blocked the Costain roundabout, causing a traffic snarl on the ever-busy road.
An eyewitness, Mr Kehinde Salami, said the LASTMA official stopped the commercial bus.
“The driver was dragging the steering wheel with the officials and one of them hit the driver with hand, the driver fell down and started foaming in the mouth.
“The LASTMA officials took away the bus, leaving the man on the floor.
“While this was happening, a LASTMA patrol car 003, with registration number RT 503 LA came to the scene with two officials in it. The hoodlums pounced on them, but the officials escaped.
“The vehicle was vandalised; they even attempted to set it ablaze if not for BRT buses parked within the vicinity,’’ Salami said.
The conductor of the erring commercial bus, who simply identified himself as Kelvin, told NAN that LASTMA officials arrested his vehicle while attempting to pick passengers at Costain roundabout, adding that the officials physically assaulted himself and the driver, until the driver fell and fainted.
“As soon as he fell, the LASTMA officials took away our bus,’’ he said.
NAN further reported that the hoodlums took the victim in a tricycle with registration number KJA 409 QD to LASTMA Iponri office where a scuffle ensued.
The hoodlums later retreated, following the arrival of police patrol teams which removed the vandalised LASTMA car to Iponri Police Station.
A Lagos State Emergency Ambulance Service with registration number KSF 632 DR later took the victim to General Hospital in Lagos Island.
LASTMA Commander in Surulere, Gbolahan Rasheed, who was in the vandalised car, told NAN that his vehicle ran into the hoodlums at about 9.20 a.m. at Costain.
“We escaped by the whiskers. I ran to Iponri Police Station to report, while the driver of the patrol car, Abalaya, was beaten seriously,’’ said the LASTMA Commander.
He said that the commercial bus driver, who allegedly fainted at the scene, suddenly started talking on getting to Lagos Island General Hospital.
“The doctor called from the hospital to inform us that the driver had been discharged.
“That is why we arrested the conductor and one other, who claimed to be a brother to the commercial bus driver. We want them to provide the driver,’’ Rasheed said.
The wrecked vehicle and particulars of the driver including his passport photograph are seen in this photographs taken by SYLVESTER OKORUWA.