Soldiers pummeled an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Peter Owolabi,for stopping their van at the Obanikoro bus stop on the Ikorodu Road, Lagos State.
The soldiers, who were in a black Honda Accord car with number plate, CP 839 YAB, drove through the Bus Rapid Transit lane, when they were stopped by Owolabi at the Obanikoro bus stop.
It was gathered that when the official queried them for flouting the state traffic laws, the soldiers got down from the car, and surrounded him.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the commotion, which occurred at about 6pm, drew crowd to the scene.
A resident, who asked not to be named, told our correspondent that when the officers, who did not have any explanation for driving on the BRT lane, were given a fine ticket meant for violators, they became infuriated, and descended on Owolabi.
She added that a LASTMA cameraman, suspected to be recording the scene, had his camera smashed by the soldiers.
She said, “There were four soldiers in the car, including a colonel. The soldiers were with the colonel, who did not come down from the car during the fracas. The soldiers were stopped at Obanikoro for driving violating traffic law.
“They were then given a fine ticket on the spot. But the officers refused to collect the ticket and blocked the road, preventing other vehicles from entering the service lane. They dealt blows on the officer and kicked anyone with a recording device, or coming close to intervene. It lasted for about 30 minutes.
“One of the LASTMA’s cameramen was also beaten and his gadget was shattered.”
Our correspondent gathered that Owolabi, whose eyes were reportedly swollen from the beating, had been taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Bashir Braimah, confirmed the attack. He added that it was regrettable that the soldiers broke the traffic law with impunity.
“Our officials were out in a joint enforcement of the BRT lane violation. We were there with the police. It is regrettable that the soldiers violated the traffic law with impunity. They should be the custodians of law and not be working against the law.
“The law is no respecter of person, and the road traffic law must be obeyed in order to ensure the safety of lives and property. Over 15 vehicles belonging to the military violated the traffic law on Monday. Among them was a silver Toyota Matrix 103 AT fully loaded with top military personnel.
“There was also a bus belonging to the Nigeria Army College of Nursing with number plate, NA 830 BOA, an army green Peugeot with number plate, NA 284 B0/1, a silver Nissan, KTU 820 AY, a silver colour Toyota Camry, KJA 233 TB, a green Hilux truck, DHQ 232, among others.”
Braimah said the vehicles on the BRT corridors were either driven by soldiers or with military paraphernalia hanging in the vehicles.