Soldiers on Tuesday, were alleged to have assaulted officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, who had accosted them for plying the lane designated for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos State.
Punch reports that the Commander of LASTMA, BRT, Mr. Kayode Odunuga, had led his men to the Onipanu end of Ikorodu Road to enforce the traffic law when they spotted a senior army officer identified as Major Dickson Okpor in a silver Lexus plying the BRT lane.
It was learnt that the LASTMA officials also accosted a female banker for the same offence.
A LASTMA official told Punch that while they were attempting to penalise the traffic offenders, a lieutenant colonel who was also driving on the BRT lane, instructed the LASTMA officials to release the soldier and the banker.
It was learnt that when the LASTMA officials refused to do so, the lieutenant colonel, identified as L.A Bello, allegedly called for backup and scores of soldiers immediately stormed the area.
The soldiers allegedly assaulted the LASTMA officials and ensured that all those arrested were released.
An eyewitness, who did not want his name in print, said, “Around 7.30am, LASTMA officials were enforcing the traffic law at the Onipanu end of the Ikorodu Road when one Major Dickson Okpor in a silver Lexus with number plate, KTU566AV, took the BRT lane.
“Behind him was a banker, Mrs. Akingbade, in a black RAV 4. When we accosted them, one Lt.Col L.A Bello stormed the scene and ordered that they be released. Scores of soldiers stormed the place and a fracas ensued. The soldiers had their way.”
It was learnt that the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Bashir Braimoh, later arrived on the scene to personally supervise the enforcement.
It was also gathered that another major identified as Nayogo was also accosted for taking the BRT lane.
Few minutes later, one Sergeant Muhammed X also plied the BRT lane as well as an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps identified as F.D Adetumobi in a Toyota with number plate, AAAHO3BV.
Another soldier, Corporal Joseph V in a Nissan Pathfinder with number plate, AAAH03BV, also reportedly plied the lane.
The LASTMA Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mamud Hassan, condemned the act, adding that no one was above the law.
He said even Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and commissioners did not ply the BRT lane.
He, therefore, wondered why law enforcement agents – who should know better – would ply the BRT lane.
In his reaction, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 81 Division, Col. Mustapha Anker, said the army authorities had warned soldiers and officers against taking the BRT lane.
He said the errant soldiers would be disciplined by the army authorities.