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Soldiers, LASTMA officials clash in Lagos over alleged traffic offence



Soldiers, LASTMA officials clash in Lagos over alleged traffic offence

A 31-second viral video has emerged on social media, showing the moment soldiers with scarves to conceal their identities, and at least two civilians, one of whom also masked his face, attacking one of the an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency on Monday.

Despite begging for mercy,  soldiers and the civilians continued to assault him while the official, with a torn LASTMA uniform was seen rolling on the ground, as the civilians fled the scene. While the LASTMA official kept screaming for leniency, one of the soldiers was seen kicking him with his boot.

The Nigerian Army has however explained that it would begin a campaign for traffic compliance amongst its officers as no fewer than five yet-to-be-identified soldiers attacked.

Meanwhile, a separate 16-second video had shown the moment a LASTMA official was dragging a soldier out of the front seat of a commercial bus and beating him with his stick.

Though the cause of the brawl was yet to be ascertained as of press time, it is unclear whether the two incidents were related.

Reacting, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Army was working to educate its officials on the need to obey traffic laws.

He said, “I must say it is disturbing that the soldiers/LASTMA conflict is now one too many. The authorities of the Nigerian Army are genuinely concerned and are embarking on a vigorous sensitisation campaign to educate our personnel on the need to ensure compliance with traffic rules and promote synergy and interagency cooperation in Lagos State and around the country.

“To rein in our personnel, the military police have also been mandated to conduct Operation Checkmate by carrying out intermittent surveillance to identify and arrest personnel who violate traffic rules or are found engaging in any untoward activity. The altercations are pointing to the fact that there is a need to strengthen interagency cooperation amongst the security agencies in Lagos.

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“Those enforcing the rules must equally be sensitised not to take laws into their hands by physically assaulting or battering offenders. This, more often than not, escalates the situation and results in a violent confrontation.

On his part, the spokesperson for the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Olabisi Ayeni, told PUNCH Metro in a WhatsApp chat that the Army was investigating Friday’s incident.

“I am aware that LASTMA personnel attacked a soldier in uniform on Friday. An investigation into the issue is ongoing,” Ayeni simply stated on Monday.


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