The office of the Attorney-General of Lagos State on Wednesday arraigned two men, Bolaji Adigun (37) and Hakeem Adebesin (42), before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court for allegedly parading themselves as officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.
Principal State Counsel, Tunde Sunmonu, prosecuting the case on behalf of the AG’s office told the court that Adigun and Adebesin impersonated as LASTMA Traffic Inspectors on Tuesday at the Mile 12 area of the state and extorted money from motorists.
The accused were said to have taken positions at the Mile 12 under bridge on Tuesday and apprehended road users before they were arrested by a LASTMA task force team led by the agency’s General Manager, Mr. Babatunde Edu.
They also allegedly used forged traffic tickets purportedly issued by the Traffic Section of LASTMA to illegally demand and collect money from motorists.
The charge sheet states, “That you Adigun and Adebesin did conspire together to commit felony to wit impersonation by falsely representing yourselves as LASTMA Traffic Inspectors.
“That both of you did by way of criminal extortion, illegally demanded and collected money from motorists on November 13 at Mile 12 by using forged traffic tickets.”
They were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy, impersonation, forgery and criminal extortion punishable under sections 411 (1), 78(b), 363(1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011 and Section 2 of the Illegal Collection of Dues in Public Place (Prohibition) Law 2003.
The accused persons who chose summary trial in the court pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
Their lawyer, Ayo Odekunle, made an oral bail application for them and urged the court to grant it on liberal terms.
Sunmonu, who did not oppose the bail application, asked the court to give a short date for trial.
Magistrate A.O. Isaacs admitted the two accused persons to bail in the sum of N200,000 with two responsible sureties each in like sum.
The sureties, according to him, must be residents of the state who must furnish the court with evidence of tax payment to the state government as well as means of livelihood.
He added that the sureties should also deposit the sum of N20, 000 as security for bail with the court.
He thereafter fixed November 21 for trial.