A driver with King Solomon Chariots Transportation, Abuchi Okpara, has been docked before the Ejigbo, Lagos, magistrate court after the company’s General Manager, Johnson Ogbonnaya, voluntarily handed him over to the police for allegedly knocking down an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Okpara was alleged to have hit the official, Obafemi Ogunmeru, on August 7, 2017 in the Igando area of Alimosho local government with a bus while attempting to evade arrest after allegedly violating the state’s traffic law.
The accused was said to be driving a Ghana-bound Toyota Sienna commercial vehicle registration number KJA 633 XT at the time of the offence and dropped passengers at an undesignated spot at Igando.
He allegedly ignored Ogunmeru’s directive to stop and ran over him in his desperate attempt to manoeuvre away from the spot to evade apprehension.
He escaped from the scene and, thereafter, fled to Ghana.
The LASTMA official was rushed to the lgando General Hospital for initial treatment, before he was transferred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for comprehensive medical care.
However, Ogbonnaya’s cooperation with police officers of the Igando police station subsequently led to the driver’s arrest.
It was learnt the General Manager travelled to Ghana to apprehend the suspect, brought him to Nigeria and handed him over to LASTMA and the police to face the full wrath of the law.
Police prosecutor, Superintendent Kenneth Asibor, told the court on Monday, “The accused, after knocking down the traffic officer with his vehicle, escaped before he could be apprehended by some policemen who were at the scene.
“The victim suffered serious injuries on his head and hands as a result of the incident. In fact, the victim became unconscious and was rushed to a hospital where he was admitted.”
Asibor informed the court that Ogunmeru was still receiving treatment at the hospital and was unable to come to court.
Okpara was charged before the court with attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty.
The presiding magistrate, Mr T.O. Shomade, granted him bail in the sum of N100,000, with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case till September 19, 2018.
The court ordered he should be remanded in prison custody pending when he would perfect his bail conditions.
LASTMA’s General Manager, Mr Olawale Musa, urged vehicle owners to take a cue from Ogbonnaya’s cooperation with the agency by ensuring that violators of laws on their payroll were not allowed to go scot-free.
Musa cautioned traders against displaying their wares on the road, especially as the Eid el-Kabir festival approaches, to prevent traffic gridlock.