The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Taskforce, has denied that its officials causing a commercial bus driver to set himself ablaze.

The chairman of the Agency, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr. Shola Jejeloye, said that Taskforce had no hand in the matter.

According to him, as at the time of the incident, his men were still at the base. He added that the accusations were utterly inaccurate and misleading as investigations and eyewitness account of persons who were present at the scene of the incident had categorically revealed that the victim,  Mr. Ayo aka Eru doused himself with petrol to scare the security operatives from enforcing the traffic law which he had violated.

The Director, Press and Public Affairs, Lagos State Taskforce, Gbadeyan Abdulraheem, in a press statement, said: “After the operatives had left, luck ran out on him and some of the hoodlums present mistook him for one of the security operatives and set him ablaze.”

Jejeloye further stated that the barbaric act of setting self-ablaze, robbing self with faeces, chasing law enforcement officers with urine and other crazy acts were now the new wave of resisting arrest by recalcitrant motorists who had developed the habit and passion for violating the State Traffic and Environmental Laws.

He said: “If they are bold enough to be serial law breakers, they should be courageous enough to face the consequences of their illegal actions rather than constituting nuisance on Lagos road.”

He narrated how a 40 years old Mr. Festus Ugbesia, residing in Mafoluku area of Oshodi, an owner of a bus drove the victim from the scene of the incident down to the Agency Headquarters, inciting members of  public against the Agency, alleging that the officials of the Taskforce were fingered as being responsible for setting the victim on fire.

“But it later dawned on him that Taskforce had no hand in it when he discovered that our men and officials were still on the parade ground preparing for the task of the day, while the transport department of the Agency was still sourcing for petrol for their operational vehicles at the Agency Headquarters. We have had many instances where imposters carry out illegal activities and mention the name of Taskforce in the process thereby leading to people pointing accusing fingers at us. We have arrested a few of these imposters and we will keep doing so until they desist from tarnishing the image of the Agency.”

Jejeloye stressed that not all security operative sighted on Lagos Roads were attached to Taskforce. “Officials of Taskforce are trained, enlightened, educated, professionals and equipped enough to distinguish between traffic offence and criminal offence. Traffic offence is not a criminal offence, as such, minimal or zero force has to be applied in carrying out the enforcement. Enforcement all over the world is not a tea party and in most cases, it is not people friendly, that is the reason Taskforce operatives do not get any support from passersby during their operations, rather what is always obtainable is little truths but massive lies against the agency,” stated Jejeloye.

He also stated that the officials of the Taskforce assisted the victim to quickly get medical attention from Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) as part of its patriotic act and corporate social responsibility.

He said: “Let me emphasised here that for us as an Agency of Government we believe that it is better for us to allow an offender to go unharmed than to cause an injury. The officials of the Agency are being led by Senior Police Officers who are well trained and exposed. We are civilsed, educated and professional to allow such incident happen during any of enforcement operation.”

He admonished all recalcitrant offenders to keep faith with the country’s judicial system and summon courage to submit self for prosecution at the Court for the offence committed. “It is better and cheaper for them to face the reality of the offence they committed, rather than being evasive or demonstrating insanity to escape arrest which is no longer acceptable to us. Nigerians are no fools.”

For years now, the Taskforce had been accused of many infractions against motorists, but its management always comes out to deny these infractions.

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