An unidentified staff of the Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA), stationed along Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan Way, former Summit Road/Jesus Saves Junction, was caught on camera counting naira notes he allegedly extorted from traffic defaulters.
A Navy blue Honda Accord car with registration AG100ABJ which beat the red light was accosted by the Hilux Van of DESTMA which barricaded the road.
The occupant of the Abuja numbered car, a mechanic, who simply identified himself as Olise, who narrated his ordeal in the hands of the traffic personnel to our correspondent said: “I have already beat the warning light before it displayed the red light but I was blocked at the other side with their van which was parked few meters away”.
According to Olise, all pleas for him to go since he did not commit any traffic offence fell on deaf ears, “when the Hilux blocked me, I told them that I was able to beat the warning light but they refused to see reasons with me. Another of the personnel came and impounded the tyre of the car and I was asked to pay N15, 000.
“They said if I refuse to pay the money, I will be booked. Then and there another officer told me to pay N10, 000 that I will be released but I begged for N5, 000 which I have to go home to bring before I was allowed to go with the car”, adding that the car was given to him to repair by a customer and was driving back to the workshop.
Meanwhile, the state commissioner for transport, Mr. Vincent Uduaghan, on Monday 21 May 2018 when he took his turn to brief journalists on the activities of his ministry, he said that anyone who has evidence against DESTMA official caught collecting bribe should come to him with such evidence.
“You see, if you bring up a child, it is expected that he should have some teething problems and when you are helping the child to grow, correction comes in and out. DESTMA primary responsibility is to control, direct and manage traffic in Delta state. And the way we did DESTMA, we did it in such a way that there should not be any financial contact between DESTMA officers and anybody that runs foul of the traffic law”.
He said anybody who has financial contact with any DESTMA officer is not helping the state government in any way, “if you know that you or someone has committed traffic offence, the right thing to do is to collect your booking and go to the bank and pay. Don’t give any DESTMA officer money”, he warned.
He revealed that a friend of his who wanted to give DESTMA officer money to pay for him in the bank due to haste, he warned the friend not to do so, “I told him that is not possible, you have to go the bank and pay yourself”.
He lamented the situation where Deltans who drive to other states like Anambra and Lagos, obey traffic laws but turn same down in Delta, “but when you come to Delta state you don’t want to obey the law but in that same we are not helping ourselves”, he declared.
He disclosed that there are cases of officers who were caught and have since being sent back to their parent ministries “because we told them that this is not a place for collecting bribe, the necessary action is been taken for them to pay for their sins”.
According to him: “if you have the proof that this is what has transpired, let us see it and let us know. Please, let us help in building DESTMA and Delta state”, he pleaded.