Following a report by The PUNCH, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority on Sunday said a seven-man panel had been set up to investigate the allegation of extortion levelled against three officials of the agency in the state.

Our correspondent, in a report titled – ‘Anger as LASTMA officials clamp down on motorists with trumped-up charges,’ said some commercial bus drivers alleged that the accused officials extorted money from them to the tune of N13,000, N15,000 and N20,000 in the state.

The Director, Public Affairs Department LASTMA, Taofiq Adebayo, in a statement, said the General Manager, Bolaji Oreagba, set up the seven-man panel to thoroughly look into the allegations, adding that anyone found culpable would be made to face the consequences under the extant rule of the state civil service.

He said, “The attention of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority has been drawn to a publication inside Punch Newspaper on pages 28/29 with the caption ‘Anger as LASTMA officials clamp down on motorists with trumped-up charges’, dated November 8, 2022, where three officials of the agency were alleged to have collected N13,000, N15,000 and N20,000 respectively from different commercial bus drivers in Lagos.

“The General Manager, Bolaji Oreagba, disclosed over the weekend that the agency had summoned all officials mentioned inside the publication to appear before a seven-man investigation panel set up to thoroughly look into those allegations as published.

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“We have set up a seven-man investigation panel to thoroughly look into those alleged extortions levied against some of our officials and I assure the public that the outcome of the panel would be made public.

“We have it on record that some of our officials alleged to have been recently found wanting for official misconduct or unethical behaviour are currently facing disciplinary panel as the management would not condone any act of indiscipline from any official.”

Adebayo said the GM encouraged members of the public to come forward with evidence of their complaints against any misbehaved officials via the agency’s complaint hotlines, 08100565860, 08174722227, 08129928597,

He said Oreagba, however, pointed out that there were many LASTMA officials dedicated, conscientious and professionally carrying out their functions as observed during the LASTMA Connect programme aired on traffic radio as many Lagosians acknowledged the good work of the agency’s traffic control personnel.

He advised all road users in the state to obey the traffic regulations so as not to run afoul of the law, stressing that some violators were fond of offering traffic personnel bribes to avoid prosecution without realising that the law frowned on both giver and the taker.