A Dubai-based businessman, Jude Eze, has narrated how some personnel of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) absconded with his bleeding wife, Sophia and stole N150,000 from him during an arrest.
Eze, who was arrested on Friday in the Akowonjo area of the state by a combined team of policemen and LASTMA officials for seat belt infringement said his wife was bleeding and could not use the seat belt, but attempts to explain to the LASTMA personnel proved abortive as they allegedly impounded on his vehicle with his wife inside.
The father of four told PUNCH that while he was pleading with the officials to allow him take his wife to hospital, one of them jumped into the car and drove away.
“My wife was not sick before we left the house, but when we got to Egbeda, she started complaining of waist pain. As I was driving from Egbeda to Akowonjo, her complaint got intense and by the time we got to Sweet Sensation before the traffic light at Akowonjo, she wouldn’t let me drive again because blood was coming out from her body; so, I drove into the Sweet Sensation premises, so that she could clean herself up inside their toilet.
“When she came out, I drove towards the traffic light at Akowonjo and it turned red; so, I waited for the traffic light to turn green and while I was waiting, two policemen and two LASTMA personnel came over to where I was; one of the LASTMA officials started recording my car, and the other one used an iron rod to block my tyres.
“I asked them what the problem was and they said that my wife was not using a seat belt; I explained to them that she was bleeding and in discomfort and had to remove it. The officers flared up and said I should not tell them anything about blood since they were not doctors.
“Before I knew it, they started harassing me and searching my car. I had an envelope that contained N10,000 and another one that contained N150,000. My passport and driving licence were in the vehicle and they took them away. While we were there, I told them that my wife was dying, because she was still bleeding, but they turned a deaf ear to my pleas.
“While I was still pleading with them to take the calls of the people I called, one of them entered my car and zoomed off with my wife; so, I started chasing to see if I could meet them, but I noticed that the guy had turned to the other side and I crossed to the side block the car, but the LASTMA official drove back to where the other members of the team were and I started begging one of them, who appeared elderly, but all my pleas were ignored,” he said
Eze added that while he was begging the officials, he was dragged out of his vehicle, which was driven off again with his wife still inside.
The Enugu State indigene, who said he was pushed into a minibus with number plate AAA 849 YB by the officials, added that he was told to cooperate with them or he would regret his actions.
“My wife kept calling me on the phone that she was dying and asking where I was; I told her that we were coming; so, they drove towards the LASTMA office at PWD, but a Siena vehicle hit their bus from the rear and they stopped to arrest the driver, but the vehicle couldn’t move and they were not willing to leave the driver so, I pleaded with them to allow me to go and save my wife.
“The elderly one among them said I ought to pay N35,000, but I should pay N10,000 and I told him to call the one driving my car that I was coming and would give him N10,000. I asked him about my documents, but he said he could only release my wife and car to me and that I would have to come to their office on Monday to know how much I would pay to get the documents.
“So I quickly went to meet my wife and drove her to hospital; by the time I got there, she was gasping for breath. When we got to the hospital, the doctor was mad at me and asked where I was when I noticed that my wife was bleeding. He said she had lost so much blood; my wife was admitted and given blood transfusion and other treatment.
“The N150,000 that was inside the envelope disappeared; they took the money with my documents. I want justice; I have been in shock, because I thought my wife would die; those officials gave me the intimidation of my life and if they are allowed to go scot free, who knows how many people they will do similar things to,” Eze said.
When PUNCH contacted the General Manager of LASTMA, Olajide Oduyoye said “We are on top of the matter; we are trying to get the officers involved to parade them tomorrow (Monday) and they will be identified. We are conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.”