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‘LASTMA thugs’ brutalise driver, impound bus, agency ignores victim’s petition

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Brutalise driver, Olasunkanmi Adejare and LASTMA DG, Bolaji Oreagba

A commercial driver, Olasunkanmi Adejare, has accused the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority of using thugs to impound his vehicle in the Oshodi area of the state.

It was gathered that Adejare, who drove a minibus for commercial purposes on the Lagos Island, went to the Ladipo area of the state on April 12, 2021, to purchase some tyres for the vehicle.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the 44-year-old was on his way back to the Lagos Island when he was accosted by three hoodlums allegedly working for LASTMA around the Oshodi area when he parked his vehicle for a friend to alight.

The driver told our correspondent that the men demanded the key of his vehicle and when he refused to give them, they beat him up.

Adejare said the group drove the vehicle to the LASTMA office in Oshodi, adding that all efforts to retrieve the bus proved abortive.

He said, “I came with a friend to buy tyres for the vehicle at Ladipo and on our way back to Lagos Island around Oshodi, almost opposite the LASTMA headquarters, my friend said he wanted to urinate. There were many commercial buses picking passengers in that area, so I parked in front of those buses so my friend could alight from the vehicle.

“Immediately he opened the door and alighted, three men who were not in uniform came from nowhere and asked me to bring my bus key and I asked them why I should give them. Before I knew it, one of them was already inside the bus; another one was standing at the driver’s side door, while another one stood at the other side. They pounced on me and beat me mercilessly; they forcefully took the vehicle from me and drove it to the LASTMA office.

“When I confirmed that the vehicle was taken to the LASTMA office, I wrote a petition to the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, dated April 15 and it was acknowledged on April 21. I sought an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forceful confiscation of the minibus when I did not violate any traffic law. The petition was referred to the DG of LASTMA, who also referred the matter to one Mr Apena, who is the director of surveillance and monitoring.

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“When I got to his office and explained what happened, he supported those guys, saying that they were doing their job and I asked him that if they were working for LASTMA why were they not in uniform, but he could not give me an answer, and no investigation was conducted.”

Adejare said he wrote another petition to the commissioner of transportation on May 11, 2021, which was referred to the LASTMA GM, who in turn referred the petition to the director of legal service of the agency.

The victim, who noted that the director of legal service confirmed that the vehicle was parked in the LASTMA office, said he had been pushed over since May, as the officers refused to release his vehicle.

“Since that May till October, I have been going back and forth to LASTMA office and Alausa, Ikeja, without any meaningful result. I wrote a petition in October to the governor, but I did not hear anything about it. I realised that because I wrote petitions against them to the ministry that was why they did not want to release the vehicle.

“Since April 12, 2021, life has been unbearable for me because this minibus was given to me and others by the Lagos Island Local Government Area to ameliorate my suffering after I lost my job at Apapa due to COVID-19. I am also owing over N1.3m, while the bus is rotting away with everything inside it looted, including the four tyres and rim I bought at Ladipo Market.”

The LASTMA Public Relations Officer, Olumide Filade, said he was not aware of the matter and could not comment on it.

He said, “I don’t have any information whatsoever on it, so I cannot comment.”

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Court strikes out money laundering charge against Olisa Metuh, firm

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Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh

A Federal High Court Abuja has struck out the seven-count money laundering charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Ltd.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Emeka Nwite held that it was of no use keeping the charge in his court’s docket when the prosecution and defendants have appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

Justice Nwite, who described the retention of the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2022 as “an abuse of court process,” held that there was no way the case could return to his court without the Supreme Court first deciding the appeals by parties in the charge.

The ruling was on arguments by lawyers to the EFCC, Metuh and Destra.

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At the mention of the case on Monday, Justice Nwite asked EFCC’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Adeola about the status of the case.

Adeola said the defendants – Metuh and Destra – were earlier convicted by the Federal High Court, which conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal following the defendants’ appeals.

He said the prosecution has since lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Adeola added: “We understand that the matter was listed this morning at the instance of the defendants for application for the release of the first defendant’s international passport.”

Lawyer to Metuh, Afam Osigwe (SAN), who claimed that his client learnt, via the socio media, about hearing of case on Monday, said he had a prior discussion the EFCC lawyer on the status of the case, “because there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court in suit number: SC/ CR/583/2021 between FG Vs. Olisa Metuh and another.”

Osigwe said the EFCC was, in the appeal, urging the Supreme Court to among others, reinstate the order of the Federal High Court, which was set aside by the Court of Appeal.

“So, in the light of the reliefs sought in that appeal, it will amount to an abuse of court process for a fresh prosecution to be commenced when they are asking for reinstatement.

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Lagos scammers defraud, rape lady in uncompleted building

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Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo

Two suspected fraudsters, Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo, have allegedly defrauded a 23-year-old girl in the Ipaja area of Lagos State.

The suspects also reportedly lured the victim to an uncompleted building on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo allegedly raped her.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the victim was on her way to a destination in Iyana Ipaja when Fisher approached her to help him locate an address.

The suspect, who reportedly presented himself as a foreign businessman to the victim, said he came to Nigeria to deliver goods to one of his clients at the address and to collect his outstanding payments.

 A source said after Fisher approached people for help to no avail, the young girl offered to help, but upon checking the address, she did not know the location.

The source said, “But as the girl was trying to help Fisher, Adebayo suddenly came as a neutral person and offered to assist Fisher, whereas they were working together. Adebayo said the address was fake, but started motivating the girl on the need for them to help Fisher.

 “Fisher, while lamenting being stranded, claimed that he was in possession of some papers that could be converted to plenty money but told Adebayo and the girl that he needed money to buy chemicals to convert the papers to money.

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“Adebayo quickly dropped N60,000. The girl, who seemed convinced, gave Fisher her gold jewellery and N10,000 and also went to withdraw N65,000 from a nearby ATM and gave it to Fisher, who told Adebayo and the girl to take an oath not to reveal his secret to anyone.”

 After taking the oath, it was learnt that Fisher gave them a location to meet him the next day.

When they got there, the Ogun State indigene reportedly showed them the sack containing the money and told Adebayo and the girl that the spirit responsible for converting the papers to money was asking for human blood as sacrifice.

“Fisher said to prevent both of them from dying, they needed to have sex. He also used the oath they took to threaten them. So, the girl out of fear of dying, followed them to an uncompleted building around 9pm on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo had sex with her,” the source said.

 PUNCH Metro gathered that after Fisher, 42, and Adebayo, 32, perpetrated the crime on September 3, 2022, the girl left the uncompleted building and proceeded to the Ipaja Police Station to report the case for investigation.

 The policemen, led by the Ipaja Divisional Police Officer, CSP Tokunbo Abaniwonda, reportedly swung into action and in a two-week sting, arrested Fisher and Adebayo at their hideouts in Ipaja on September 16, 2022.

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime, saying they only manipulated the victim.

 Adebayo said, “I only slept with her once and I used a contraceptive. I got the contraceptive at a mallam’s shop in the area. I used the contraceptive because I don’t really know the girl. I needed to protect myself.”

Narrating how he perpetrated the crime, Fisher said he met Adebayo through a friend, Bisi, who he claimed trained him on how to formulate stories to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

He said, “I have been asking a lot of people for the address. While some said they did not know the place, others advised me to go back to the country I came from, but I said I could not go back because of the goods that I brought.

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“The girl got convinced when I said I was looking for people to help me count Nigerian money because I said I don’t know how to count it. Meanwhile, I and Adebayo had been talking to people but they did not answer us.

“It was when the girl was passing that I explained to her and she listened to me. So, Adebayo also pretended to be a passer-by and when he was passing, I signalled to him, and asked the girl to help me ask him for the location of the address and Adebayo said he had not heard of such an address before.”

 Reacting, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the suspects had been charged to court.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Fisher and Adebayo, who are both married with two children each, were arraigned at the Ejigbo Magistrate’s Court on three counts bordering on obtaining by false pretences, fraudulent conversion and sexual assault, offences punishable under sections 411, 314 (1), 287 and 136 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

 The men were later remanded in prison as the matter was adjourned till October 17, 2022, for further hearing.

Fraudsters have been deploying different tactics to swindle unsuspecting members of the public out of their valuables in different parts of Lagos State.

 In August 2022, 35-year-old Olumide Womiloju was arraigned for fraud before Chief Magistrate P.E. Nwaka at a magistrate’s court sitting in the Yaba area of the state, for allegedly obtaining N5m from clients after promising to process their visas to travel overseas.

Also in August, a suspected fraudster, Emmanuel Rolland, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to defraud unsuspecting residents in the Ikorodu area of the state.

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Seven passengers burnt to death in bus accident in Lagos

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Seven passengers were on Sunday burnt to death in a commercial bus that caught fire in the Iyana Oworo area of Lagos State.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident in a statement.

Permanent Secretary at LASEMA, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, attributed the cause of the accident to reckless driving.

The statement said, “Upon arrival at the scene, a commercial bus of 14 passengers with registration number KJA 699 GY was discovered to have been gutted with fire.

“Further investigation gathered at the scene revealed that the incident occurred due to recklessness by the driver which resulted in the fire with 12 passengers trapped.

“Unfortunately seven victims, four males, two females and a male child were burnt to death. The driver escaped with some burns while three female adults were rescued and rushed to Gbagada General Hospital. A male adult was also attended to by LASAMBUS at the scene.”

The LASEMA permanent secretary said their remains had been bagged by the agency’s paramedics and handed over to the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU).

He said, “Arrangements have been made by LASTMA officials at the scene for the removal of the burnt vehicle from the road. Road is partially opened for vehicular activities.”

 

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