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LASG to Police: Be At Alert To Foil Bloodshed In Lagos

By Tajudeen Balogun

Following the arrest on Tuesday, 200 officers of the Federal Task Force, in Alausa Ikeja, the Lagos state government has appealed to the State Police Command to be more vigilant, check vandals and be at alert to foil attempt to unleash terror on residents of the state.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola

The call was against the background of the repeated confrontation and violence between the officers of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Subsidy Removal Empowerment Programme – SURE-P task force officers in various aspects of the State in recent times. The Federal Task force officers have claimed they were acting on the authority of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), which they argued has the sole right to control traffic on the Federal roads in the state.

In a Television interview programme monitored in Lagos on Saturday by the African Examiner the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, warned that care must be taken to avoid the replica of security challenges currently going on in the North-Eastern Nigeria, which he explained started with the government – by floating or subtly promoting self-seeking agenda organizations, but later unable to control and check their untoward advances.

The Commissioner emphasized that neither the SURE-P task force officers nor the authority they arrogate to themselves in the State were known to any Federal or State law relating to traffic control and road management, except that they have been seen, affiliating and operating with the state FERMA. He revealed that barely after the allegation on training of snipers by the Federal government by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, not less than 5000 men and women were spot in their expansive old toll gate Alausa yard, receiving various Para-military training for yet unknown mission.

Ever since, Opeifa alleged that it has been one tussle or the other between the task force men and LASTMA officials, citing examples of late May this year on two days consecutively when the task force officers stormed Oshodi head office of the traffic management agency, attacking it with broken bottles and other dangerous items as well as entangled with its officers at their duty post in Mile 2 area of the state, the latest which he said was the scuffle that ensued on Tuesday that led to massive arrest of the officers, by the state special task force team.

He responded in view of the ongoing confusion, “the state government will not relent on its efforts to provide adequate security and ensure law and order reign”. Commissioner Opeifa assured members of the that government was capable of managing and controlling traffic plying various roads within the metropolis, advising the agency to present itself properly and provide clear constitutional references, backing its existence and operations.

Also during the interview, a Lagos based Lawyer and Public Affairs commentator, Liborous Oshomah, faulted the manner the task force officers have been parading themselves and operating in the state, confirming that their activities amount to illegality until the necessary legislative body makes law to back operations. However, he cautioned that the state government has no right to sanction the alleged unruly officers.

Efforts by African Examiner to reach the state zonal coordinator of FERMA for his comments on the matter did not yield fruitful result as his line refused to go, as at the time of filling this report.


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