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Revealed: How Policemen, LASTMA Officials Extort Lagosians On Traffic Light Issues With POS Machines

A group of police officers and men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority have been caught in an extortion scheme using the traffic light at the Isheri-Berger area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro, after receiving a series of complaints from motorists, who had fallen victims to the law enforcement agents, went to the community on Tuesday, June 28, and observed as car owners were stopped on the pretext of violating a traffic rule.

Our correspondent, who disguised as a hawker with a bag of popcorn and nose masks on his shoulder, watched for over four hours as the syndicate operated.

The group mainly exploits motorists seeking to connect from the Berger-Isheri Road to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, using the old traffic light.
Commuters, who took the route regularly, as well as those who had businesses around the vicinity, appeared to be aware of the extortion at the junction.

While also disguising as a driver who had just been arrested for a traffic offence, our correspondent visited some PoS operators within the vicinity and confirmed that the extortion had been going on for a while.

One of the operators said, “That is what they do always. They bring people here to withdraw money after they have been arrested and the amount their victims withdraw from us ranges between N10,000 and N60,000.”

Another PoS operator, however, suggested that our correspondent should offer the officers N5,000, saying the law enforcement agents would take it.

The officers
A motorist, who identified himself as Taiwo and claimed to be a recent victim, said he was also accused of moving when the traffic light was red.

He said, “The day I was arrested, one of them who was in mufti forced his way into my car, and was joined by another officer and they ordered me to drive towards the state secretariat, Alausa.

“At first, I could not even wrap my head around their allegations that I beat the traffic light, but I just kept driving. It was during our conversation that he suggested that I bail myself out before getting to Alausa where my car would be impounded and may not be recovered again.
“Then we began to negotiate. It was in the course of the negotiation that he asked me to make a detour from the express back to the passage under the Otedola Bridge, as I drove back to Berger where he took me to a PoS vendor. This was after he declined that I do transfer to him. I gave him N5,000.”

Another road user, who gave his name as Tokunbo, said he was stopped twice at the location.

“The first time it happened, I challenged them that I did not commit any offence, and of course and I called their bluff. I also threatened to take them up, so they allowed me to go.

“The second time it happened, I didn’t take it lightly with them since I knew what they were up to. It was after I reacted that they started asking me to give them something, and I refused,” he added.

PUNCH Metro observed that the extortion point is close to the Isheri Police Station.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, denied knowledge of the extortion ring.

He said, “I am not aware of any complaints that any of our officers are extorting money from motorists at that location. We are not an irresponsible organisation. If you provide us with evidence that our officers are misbehaving and engaging in extortion there, of course, we will take it up.


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