Some residents at Itire, in the Mushin area of Lagos State, have lamented the absence of road signs in the community and the continuous harassment and extortion of motorists over alleged traffic law infractions.
The Lagos State Government prohibits driving against traffic (one-way) and recently auctioned 134 vehicles forfeited by their owners over the offence.
The exercise was greeted with mixed reactions, as some residents recounted driving on unmarked roads and accused the state government of not fulfilling its part.
Our correspondent moved round different parts of the state to verify the claim.
LENTORLITENEWS Metro, during a visit to the Police Post Junction, Onitire Road, Itire, observed that there were three one-way turnings at the junction.
However, there were no clear road signs to guide users of the road.
Motorists connect the Police Post Junction from Iyana Itire, Odo Eran and Oja Ale axis.
Those coming from Iyana-Itire, en route to Adeniyi Street, are not allowed to make a U-turn at the junction, but rather turn right on Onitire Road leading to Odo-Eran.
Also, motorists coming from Oja-Ale towards the Police Post Junction are not supposed to go straight into the other side of Adeniyi or turn left into Odo-Eran, but rather turn right towards the Itire Police Station via the Onitire Palace to link back to Adeniyi Street.
This also applies to motorists coming from Odo Eran, as they are expected to drive towards the Itire Police Station or turn right into Oja-Ale and not to turn left into Adeniyi towards Iyana Itire.
Meanwhile, only one road sign is mounted at the junction to caution motorists coming from Iyana Itire, while there are no directions for motorists coming from the Oja-Ale and Odo-Eran axis.
Policemen from the Itire Police Division, as well as some local government officers at the spot, exploited unsuspecting motorists and visitors to the neighbourhood.
The only road sign at the junction is also not conspicuous for motorists.
A resident, Sodiq Alawiye, who spoke to our correspondent, said the spot was an entrapment for motorists.
He said, “There is no day that drivers, especially those driving Uber, are not arrested over traffic offences at the junction. When some of them come around to pick riders, they are always confused on which way to turn. The policemen and local government officials who sit at the junction are always on hand to arrest and extort money from them.”
Another resident, who sold items close to the junction and refused to state his name for security reasons, said local government officers resumed at the junction daily with the sole aim of taking advantage of motorists.
“The Itire police officers also do the same thing. They take the offenders to their station,” he added.
Another resident, who identified himself only name as Jamiu for security reasons, said the officers targeted cars, adding that commercial buses, particularly minibuses (Korope), were spared.
He said, “It seems the Korope bus drivers settle them, because they are not always arrested. They load passengers some meters away from the junction.”
A resident, Martins Okonkwo, complained about the size of road signs in the area, saying most drivers would not see them.
He said, “We want the government to enlarge the size of road signs in the area. They are too small in size to be visible for people to see. There is one at the Iyana Itire Junction. It is small to sight from afar. Why won’t people make mistakes?”
A legal expert, Kunle Anifowose, said it was wrong for government officers and policemen to ambush motorists in order to incriminate them.
“It is also wrong to remove or hide road signs from motorists. Any motorist who finds himself in such a situation should be exempted so far he or she can prove that it was a deliberate attempt to make him commit the offence. It is wrong to extort people through such means.
“The media should report and expose them. The media has the responsibility to enlighten the public and let them know what is going on. This will demoralise them since it is a common occurrence; it is not as if it is an isolated case. Besides, if this is done, the judge or whoever presides on the case in the mobile court would exonerate the driver after getting to know that this is a common practice by overzealous police officers,” he added.