Abavo Kingsley, Benin

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Operatives of EDSTMA

The Edo State Transport Control and Management Agency (EDSTMA) have been observed to lay booby trap for motorists with exploitative intent.

The agency when established by the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration early last year, brought a level of sanity on the roads in Benin the State capital City.

But seemingly it has turned a tool of exploitation by operatives unleashing terror on the people; majority of who are already gasping for breath under the weight of everyday demand of life.

The Agency was intended to help decongest areas notorious for traffic congestion in the State capital, maintain and sustain sanity on the roads, paving way for easy traffic flow.

For this it was applauded by residents for impressive performance.

However there has been rumour about operatives turning away from their mandate to prey on motorists via all manner of baits like obtained in the comrade Adams Oshiomhole era.

A victim (name with – held) who visited home from Europe narrates his experience.

On Friday, 15 December, 2017 at about noon I parked my car at the parking space designed on the road by the Nigerian Observer after the traffic light on Airport road in the City.

I thereafter went in to see a friend who works for the Nigerian Observer but before I returned my car had been towed away by operatives of EDSTMA.

Surprisingly, it was obvious that the car was rightly parked at the space designed on the road for that purpose.

On enquiry, contrarily I was told that the parking space was not meant for cars but for commercial buses to drop off passengers hence I was culpable for traffic offence that was punishable by payment of fine.

Consequently, I was booked for two offences; ‘miscellaneous traffic offence,’ ‘storage and custody’; each at five thousand naira and total; N10, 000.

Thereafter, I was ordered to go to Sky Bank to pay the money into account number; ‘1790094342’ and on my return, I discovered that the tyres of my  car were already deflated and to pump them, I was required to pay the sum of N500 for each.

Also, the Agency operatives charged the sum of N1,000 for demurrage each day a vehicle remain in their custody, I found out but luckily, I did not allow my car remain with them till another day.

Notably, it was obvious that the Agency did not erect any sign post at the parking space warning car owners that it was only meant for commercial buses hence it is a bait to catch vulnerable victims and milk them of their hard earned money, our source said.

In the same vein Barr. Isah Aigbokhabho narrated how one of his clients called him on phone to report that operatives of EDSTMA in the evening hours had altercation with a pedestrian and forcefully took him away in their vehicle and slammed on the victim; traffic offence they alone can understand and explain.

Conduct of the Agency operatives performing their assigned duties has become something to actually worry about, residents especially motorists complain.