Posted by News Express | 25 August 2018 | 1,403 times
On Monday August 13, 2018, I had an urgent call to see my project supervisor at the University of Lagos, Akoka. Because I had other previously-scheduled appointments for the day, I had to defy the heavy rain to see my supervisor in other to meet my other appointments. So, I joined one of the UNILAG campus shuttles from Yaba Terminus to UNILAG campus that morning. When I thought the rain was the worst thing to happen to me that morning, I never thought of how poorly-trained some Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Traffic Wardens could be. One of them is a notorious official, by name, Funke (it may turn out not to be her real name though) with the identification number (2221) on duty that unfortunate morning.
As we got to Agnes Junction, one police officer (a woman), and this LASMA official were on duty. The traffic was understandably heavy because of the downpour. Every vehicle became a law unto itself because of the poor job the traffic wardens were doing. In the bus I was, the driver got the signal from the police officer to move; and he complied. But from nowhere, one LASMA woman, in a Gestapo, Mushin-tout or agbero style came and removed the bus’s right-side-mirror (exactly the position I was seated). The confused driver and 14 other passengers could not believe their eyes. An officer in butter colour shirt and pink trousers could behave in such a thuggish manner? As the driver tried to park in a comfortable position, we were in for a rudder shock. This woman, with her bare hands, broke the windscreen of the same bus. (I personally got injured in this unfortunate encounter). At this point, we all have had enough: A windscreen and side-mirror, all to a woman’s uncontrolled temperament? Despite the rain, the next two hours saw the passengers confront all the officers on duty in an attempt to get justice for the bus driver.
In the heavy downpour, I came out to challenge the woman, who, by the way, works with a street thug she engaged to harass commercial bus drivers, on why she did that. She said to me in Yoruba: “You better don’t get involved in this matter. I am doing my job. If you provoke me further, I will break the whole glass and nothing will happen. I’m doing my job.” As if to confirm the impunity of her action, she hit me on the chest. But for my respect for women, nobody would have gotten away with that. The policewoman on duty tried to calm me down at the point, but I won’t be on that bus as a witness to this woman’s clinical-case madness and allow what was happening to pass. Never!
At some point, she tried to take to her heels, but I and some other passengers with the driver pursed her. Her thug with whom she reigns terror on commuters and commercial bus drivers ran after us to threaten me in particular. Since he does not understand English, he spoke to me in Yoruba “You are Yoruba and defending Omo Ibo (Igbo man). Can you go and do that in Onitsha?” In my response to him, I told him I was in Onitsha during the 2017 Anambra gubernatorial election as an observer, but that is beside the point. She either admits she was wrong by breaking the man’s windscreen and side-mirror or we press further charges against her. I was ready to abandon what I was going to UNILAG to do and my other engagements to see the end of this case. Noticing my insistence, an official at the Lagos State Civil Service who identified herself as Rose came down from her car to intervene. She had a full view of the incident, having been held up in the traffic caused by this woman’s incurable madness.
I have told the driver to file a case with the Transport Union against this lawless, power-drunk woman. Nobody should be tolerating the uncivil behaviour of this poorly-trained, undisciplined, and unprofessional rogue. Not in this country. Certainly, not under a democracy! It is on that that I am making the following prayers:
1. The bus driver must be indemnified. This driver’s windscreen and side-mirror must be restored at the Lagos State Government’s or LASTMA’s expense forthwith.
2. The Lagos State Government and LASTMA must ensure that Road Traffic Wardens are properly tested by competent psychiatrists to examine the state of their mental health. This woman, Funke (LASTMA N0 2221), shows obvious signs of failing mental health, as manifested in every one of her actions while the incident lasted. I also think she needs to be tested for drug or substance abuse. She does not look or sound mentally fit: All her behaviour, her speech, and actions point to the fact that she is, in fact, a street tout. If someone like this should find her way into an important state agency such as LASTMA, can we imagine what would have been the case if someone like Funke is in possession of firearms? Do we still have the moral justification to continue to call for State Police when people like Funke are sure to be employed in the Police Force? Will, someone like Funke not pull the trigger at the slightest provocation(s), as she clearly demonstrated that morning?
3. Last and most important: Someone like Funke is not ordinarily fit to be a public servant, to start with. She is everything a public servant should not be. She is rude, arrogant, vindictive, reckless, violent, destructive, aggressive, emotionally unstable, mentally unfit, unprofessional, undisciplined, corrupt, tribalistic, nepotistic, uneducated, unintelligent, uncouth, sadistic, embarrassing, despicable, disgusting, ridiculous, and every other attribute for living among beasts. I, therefore, call on the Lagos State Government and LASTMA to immediately terminate her appointment before people like this commit further damage; just to serve as a lesson for others like her. She is too unfit to be an officer in uniform in the first instance.
I will wait to know how this woman’s case will be treated before taking my next line of action. There has to be an end to this arrant display of impunity in public life.
•Photo shows LASTMA official Funke with LASTMA Identification number 2221) during the incident at Agnes Junction, Yaba, Lagos. Olalekan Waheed Adigun, a post-graduate student, University of Lagos, Akoka; can be reached via email@example.com
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