October 28, 2021

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A senior citizen entreats LASTMA helmsman over vehicle towed to an unknown destination

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Engr. Olajide Oduyoye, General Manager, LASTMA

ENGR. OLAJIDE ODUYOYE, GENERAL MANAGER, LASTMA

A senior citizen of Nigeria and a Lagosian, Madam Theresa Adebola John, has sent a fervent appeal to the General Manager/Chief Executive of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, over her car that was towed to an unknown destination.

Madam Adebola John in her petition had expected the LASTMA officer who superintend over the towing of her vehicle to leave behind details of the LASTMA office the vehicle was being towed. She was also not given details of the road traffic infraction that warranted the vehicle to be towed away.

What penalty needed to be paid was not made known but only the desire to tow and leave the owner in total darkness. Also, the procedure to retrieve her car or the penalty that would cause the release of her vehicle was not volunteered.

Below is the appeal;

August 25 2020

Dear General Manager,

Engineer Olajide Oduyoye, 

Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA),

Greetings Sir,

I saw your picture and realized that I know you as a member of Magodo GRA II and you used to direct rush hour traffic under the bridge around 8 am. I was wondering why that man in mufty used to volunteer and did not realize you were head of LASTMA.

My car, a 2015 Honda Element, silver/grey, registration number BD863BDG was towed on June 24th 2020 when I parked it at the side of CMD Road, Magodo, in front of the Ikeja Electric Vendors.  I go there once a month to recharge my meter. The owners of the compound always block the entrance and don’t allow the Ikeja Electric customers to park inside so we usually park on the street.  Transactions are usually fast and nobody parks for a delayed period of time. 

I parked around 11.30 am, when there was very little traffic on the road so the logic of obstructing the road is not understandable especially as I cleared well and was very close to the gutter. The place was quiet with only one other customer when I arrived and I was immediately being attended to. I was in the middle of my transaction when a small crowd of people appeared from nowhere and started shouting that they are towing my car. I went back to the road and saw my car on top of a new looking towing vehicle with a neatly uniformed LASTMA officer standing there.  He did not respect me as an elderly person and I was shocked had to ask him: ‘Are you a human being? Is it because you are in uniform?’ He insisted on his action and told me he had to tow my car. 

His words were ‘This is a carriage way and you are not in the car’. I explained to him that this is where we pay for electricity and we have always parked here to make our payments. I was shocked at his over zealousness and I asked him if LASTMA does not issue a ticket or notice and he looked embarrassed and was speechless. 

I remembered that my ATM card was still with the vendor and rushed back to their table to retrieve it and before I returned to the roadside the officer and LASTMA van had gone off with my car not even explaining to me where he was towing my car to and all the implications.  He did not take my name and particulars or even explain to me what my offense was and what is the penalty.  I couldn’t go after them and had to finish my transaction with the vendors so that I could have electricity at home.  This manner of operation is unbelievable.  I am an elderly person and this is COVID-19 era.  I walked back to the Magodo Phase II GRA Secretariat gate and took a bus home. I had to take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually and gathered myself to continue with the work I had scheduled for the day. I have been trying to get over the shock and not rush into action, which I cannot do, anyway

I don’t know where my car is. It is my only means of transport and this is a pandemic era. Am I supposed to go searching all your offices when I don’t even know your offices. I cannot ask for a ride from people because of physical distancing and I am afraid to take public transport at this time.

My address is 21 Kola Amodu Street (Unit 4), off Bashir Shittu Street, Magodo GRA II.  I would be most grateful indeed if the officer could tow back my car to my home and give me a notice of offense or something that I can use to fulfil any penalty.  Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Madam Theresa Adebola John

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