The Nigerian Army has announced its intention to launch a campaign aimed at promoting traffic compliance among its officers. This decision comes after an incident where at least five unidentified soldiers allegedly assaulted an official from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency on Monday.
In a video that lasted 31 seconds and quickly spread online, a group of soldiers were seen concealing their faces, along with at least two civilians, one of whom also concealed his identity.
This group was shown attacking an official from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA). Despite the pleas for mercy from the LASTMA official, one of the soldiers was observed kicking him forcefully with his boot.
In spite of the LASTMA official’s appeal for mercy, both the soldiers and civilians aggressively attacked him. The official’s LASTMA uniform was torn, and he was seen on the ground, being kicked repeatedly. Eventually, the soldiers and civilians involved quickly left the area after carrying out the attack.
The video that has gone viral has sparked varied responses among the public, with some drawing comparisons to a separate incident involving a viral video of a clash between Department of State Services (DSS) operatives and Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) personnel in court.
In a different video, a LASTMA official was captured pulling a soldier out of the front seat of a commercial bus and subsequently striking him with a stick.
In response to the situation, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, stated that the Army is taking action to educate its personnel about the importance of adhering to traffic regulations, noting that the conflict between soldiers/LASTMA, is now one too many.
“I must say it is disturbing that the soldiers/LASTMA conflict is now one too many. The authorities of the Nigerian Army are genuinely concerned and are embarking on a vigorous sensitisation campaign to educate our personnel on the need to ensure compliance with traffic rules and promote synergy and interagency cooperation in Lagos State and around the country.
“To rein in our personnel, the military police have also been mandated to conduct Operation Checkmate by carrying out intermittent surveillance to identify and arrest personnel who violate traffic rules or are found engaging in any untoward activity. The altercations are pointing to the fact that there is a need to strengthen interagency cooperation amongst the security agencies in Lagos.
“Those enforcing the rules must equally be sensitised not to take laws into their hands by physically assaulting or battering offenders. This, more often than not, escalates the situation and results in a violent confrontation.”
Spokesperson for the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Olabisi Ayeni, however disclosed that the Army was investigating the disturbing and embarrassing incident.
“I am aware that LASTMA personnel attacked a soldier in uniform on Friday. An investigation into the issue is ongoing,” Ayeni simply stated on Monday.
Although, LASTMA is yet to speak on the issue, as the spokesperson, Taofeek Adebayo stated that it is a sensitive issue.