Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have arrested one Femi Adegbemi who makes N250,000 by impersonating the agency to extort money from owners of vehicles impounded for traffic infractions.
Adeyemi was arrested on Tuesday after collecting N140,000 from some owners of impounded vehicles.
The suspect said that he does the illegal deal with his colleagues.
According to the Director of Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq, the suspect was arrested following complaints of extortions received by the agency from owners of inter-state commercial buses impounded and ticketed for traffic infractions around Moshalasi by Alaka area of Surulere.
Adebayo described the suspect as “a serial impersonator” who has been making money from owners of vehicles impounded by LASTMA officials during enforcement operations.
“The arrested suspect collected N140,000 from owners/drivers by promising to help them get their impounded vehicles released from the custody of agency,” he said.
“It is disheartening getting complaints from road users particularly owners of impounded vehicles on activities of these unscrupulous elements impersonating and extorting money from different owners of impounded vehicles thereby tarnishing the good image of the Agency before the public.”
Commenting on the arrest, the General Manager of LASTMA, Bakare-Oki Olalekan, warned the general public to be wary of these unscrupulous elements stating that the agency operates a cashless policy as traffic violators apprehended are charged to court via a ‘Referral Notice’ issued to them.
He stated that more personnel of the agency have been strategically deployed to hunt for unscrupulous elements duping motorists across the state.
Meanwhile, the agency’s Director of the Legal Department, Akerele Kehinde, has disclosed that the suspect would be immediately charged to court to serve as a deterrent to others.
In December 2022, THE WHISTLER reported that one David Oluchkwu (27yrs), confessed to having been impersonating the agency and extorting money from motorists, particularly commercial bus drivers for violating traffic laws, adding that he makes an average of N40,000 every day from the illegal business.
He was subsequently sentenced to a 4-month jail term for impersonating and extorting money from motorists.