Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas tragedy: LASTMA beats man to death

A 54 year old man left his home early on Christmas eve to hustle for money to celebrate the Yuletide, but did not make it back home alive, thanks to two Lagos Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials.

The commercial bus driver, Isaac Popoola, was allegedly beaten to death while trying to resist impoundment of his bus for yet unknown traffic offences.

The bus conductor, Aremu Salawu, who witnessed the incident, told the Punch that the LASTMA officials, Adesanya Olatunde and Oludele Ogunrinde, assaulted Popoola at about 6.30am around Brown Bus Stop resulting in his death.

He said the deceased’s bus conveying 17 passengers from Igando/Isheri was approaching Brown Junction when a LASTMA pick-up van crossed the bus.

The leader of the LASTMA officials, according to Salawu, ordered two of his men to impound the vehicle and take it to the agency’s office.

Salawu alleged that Olatunde hit Salawu’s head with the metallic head of the seat belt and banged his head against the steering and the door frame of the bus many times while they were both struggling for the steering.

Salawu said, “Baba (Popoola) held on to the steering asking what his offence was. But the LASTMA man (Olatunde) said it was his commander that ordered him to seize the bus.

“When Baba refused to leave the steering, the LASTMA man started hitting Popoola’s head against the steering and the door frame. He did this so many times, until he was unable to talk again.

“I then rushed to Mosafejo Police Station where I made a statement and people who were watching the scenario were able to apprehend one of the LASTMA men (Olatunde). They brought him to the police station before we were transferred to Area F.

Olatunde has been apprehended, while the second LASTMA official is on the run.

Two issues leapt to my mind when I read this story. Why would LASTMA officials struggle for the steering with this elderly man? Since his vehicle had been blocked, why was it necessary or urgent to forcibly subdue him?

Secondly, why was this man not rushed to the hospital immediately by the officials or even the bystanders or sympathizers?

For an incident that happened at 6:30 am, is it not strange that the body of the victim was still available to be snapped by the reporter at the police station at 4pm?

Nigerians have to stop this primitive habit of concluding someone is dead simply because he seems not to be breathing or has no pulse. Elsewhere in the world, people are revived at the hospital after they had seemed to lose their pulses.

That gentleman might be alive now if he had been rushed to the hospital.


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