Monday, 22 March 2010

News Release: DPA Charges Fashola,Opeifa Over LASTMA Officers’s Killing Of Bus Driver, Okada Rider

                                          [Governor Fashola of Lagos State]

Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) wants Governor Babatunde Fashola to veto his Special Adviser on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, and order a full-scale investigation into the killing on Monday of a commercial bus driver by an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).

Charging the Special Adviser, who supervises LASTMA, with encouraging, condoning and defending the criminal acts and impunity of his officials, DPA in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, lampooned Opeifa for blaming the killing of the 50-year old Benjamin Onyebuchi Igbokwe on touts, contrary to public knowledge and eyewitness.

DPA emphasized that Igbokwe’s killing came seven days on the heels of the killing of an okada commercial motorcyclist by a LASTMA official on the same Ikotun-Ejigbo axis, and a Pentecostal Pastor last year.

“Opeifa’s statement is irresponsible, callous, presumptuous and inciting and it appears as if the Adviser is giving his men the licence to kill and expect nothing to happen.” DPA said. “Rather than give the killer cover, the Special Adviser should immediately commence the process to punish and hand over the killer to police for prosecution. If the LASTMA officers were not culpable as Opeifa claims, why then did they disappear from the Ikotun-Cele axis from Tuesday in the wake of the incident?”

The party demanded compensation for the slain father of seven, who lost his life in an attack by a uniformed LASTMA officer identified as Mr. Adesinga Osinga.

The son of the deceased, Somto Miracle Igbokwe, and other eyewitnesses reported that the incident occurred at Oke-Ifa in Ejigbo Local Government Monday evening when the officer stopped and boarded the bus driven by the deceased and proceeded to beat his up. Despite pleas by the man and his passengers, the officer dragged him out of the cabin and slammed his head against the vehicle, following which the man slumped and bled profusely from the nose and ears. He died on the spot.

I watched him beat my Dad to death!” DPA quoted Somto as lamenting, wondering where Opeifa got his facts from.

DPA described Igbokwe’s case as pathetic, saying it showed the level of dehumanization to which the government has subjected Lagosians through its various agencies like LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade, local government paramilitary personnel and the Task Force on Environmental Matters.

According to the party, Igbokwe’s killing, coming a few days after that of a commercial motorcycle (okada) operator and a Pentecostal Pastor last year along that same Ikotun-Ejigbo axis (both of whom died after being battered by LASTMA men), had become a metaphor for the executive lawlessness typifying law-enforcement operatives employed by the Fashola government.

It is common knowledge that these people usually go on duty armed with cudgels, axes, machetes, broken bottles and other dangerous weapons and Lagos is awash with the blood of their many innocent victims,” DPA lamented.

The party advocated a reorientation of all the paramilitary agencies in the state interfacing with the public.

Beginning with the querying of Opeifa and prosecution of Osinga, every one of them should be tutored to hold life as sacred and human rights as inalienable,” the DPA statement said.

The party said it was noteworthy that LASTMA under the Special Adviser also came up for mention in the current complaints of extortion tabled by food and cattle dealers who recently went on strike to draw attention to their plight.

Felix  Oboagwina
Director of Publicity, Lagos State DPA